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Coffee grower-members to get Rs 1,000 — Price stabilisation fund gets going

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Aug 4

COFFEE growers subscribing to the price stabilisation fund (PSF) scheme unveiled by the Government in April 2003 will be the first beneficiary as 2003 has been declared a distress year for coffee.

The scheme enables each coffee member-grower to withdraw up to Rs 1,000 from his savings bank account during 2004-05.

The Commerce Ministry-administered Price Stabilisation Fund Trust announced the price spectrum band for 2003 for rubber, coffee and tea, based on the seven years' moving average of international price for the commodity. It also categorised the status of each commodity on the basis of relationship of the average annual domestic price to the price spectrum band.

The year 2003-04, when the PSF was launched, was categorised as a boom period for rubber, distress year for robusta and arabica coffee and normal for tea. Since no tobacco grower wasenrolled under the scheme, the price spectrum fund for tobacco has not been fixed.

The price spectrum band in 2003 for tea has been fixed at Rs 53.01- Rs 79.78 per kg, for robusta Rs 36.30 - Rs 54.45 per kg, for arabica Rs 71.92 - Rs 107.88 per kg and for rubber Rs 27.06 - Rs 40.59 per kg, official sources told Business Line here.

In normal years when prices remain within the price spectrum band, the grower has to deposit Rs 500 a year to his PSF account within a specified date. The Government will also contribute up to Rs 500 to the individual grower's account.

When the price exceeds the upper level of the band, the grower has to contribute aminimum of Rs 1,000. The Government will not make any contribution.

When prices fall below the lower band, the grower need not contribute any amount, while the Government will put in up to Rs 1,000. Also, the subscriber can withdraw up to Rs 1,000 from his account.

The release said as per the scheme, the PSF Trust and/or the members who have enrolled up to end-March 2004 will contribute to the savings account's corpus fund.

The trust will deposit Rs 82.25 lakh for 8,225 coffee growers at Rs 1,000 each and Rs 9.31 lakh for 1,861 tea growers at Rs 500 each.

The 16,240 rubber member-growers will put in Rs 162.40 lakh at Rs 1,000 each and the 1,861 tea growers will deposit Rs 9.31 lakh at Rs 500 each.

The PSF scheme aims to provide financial relief to growers when prices of commodities fall below a specified level, without resorting to procurement operation by Government agencies.

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