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Govt nod to spices project in N-E

Our Bureau

Kochi , Aug. 3

THE Union Government has approved the Spices Board schemes, involving a total financial outlay of about Rs 17 crore, for export-oriented development of spices in the north-eastern States.

The schemes aimed at not only helping the development of rural areas in the north-eastern region, empowerment of women, transfer of technologies to the tribal folk, but also help tapping the export potential of spices from these regions, Mr C J Jose, Chairman, Spices Board, told Business Line.

The programmes, considering the potential of improving production and productivity of a number of spices grown in these regions would be undertaken during the current plan period, he said. The board had proposed to take up cultivation of large cardamom in these states, he said. State Government and NGOs would be supported for multiplication of planting materials and maintenance during gestation period subject to a maximum of Rs 17,500 per hectare. "It is proposed to cover 1,700 ha at a financial outlay of Rs 2.88 crore," he said.

At present, large cardamom is grown in Sikkim and the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. As it requires special type of curing chambers for drying, it is proposed to construct 15 community curing houses with a capacity of 1,000 kg eachat a total outlay of Rs 75 lakhs, Mr Jose said.

During the current plan, the board has also proposed to bring 3,835 ha under organic pepper cultivation in the region at a cost of Rs 4.33 crore.

Herbal spices such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, basil etc. are also proposed to be brought under cultivation in 100 ha during the current plan at an outlay of Rs 30 lakhs.

The board proposes to give 25 per cent of the cost for setting up of vermi-compost units subject to a maximum of Rs 1,250 per unit. About 5,000 units at a cost of Rs 62.50 lakhs would be set up during the Plan period.

Another area is cultivation of Lakadong turmeric, which is a location specific variety of turmeric grown in Meghalaya. It had high curcumin content and "because of this it has a premium price in the export market", he said. To popularise its cultivation, the board plans to give Rs 12,500 per ha as subsidy towards the cost of planting material. It also plans to bring 1,000 ha under this crop in the current Plan with a financial outlay of Rs 1.38 crore. In addition, the board proposed to promote organic cultivation of ginger varieties such as Nadia. The board also proposed to supply driers for drying ginger and turmeric besides constructing warehouse-cum-cold storages.

Under this programme 100 per cent of the cost will be met by the Board, Mr Jose said. During the current plan period four cost storages with a total capacity of 3,000 tonnes would be constructed at a cost of Rs 4.5 crore, he said.

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