A pan-India mobile tele network, a joint venture of Spices Board and IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd, was launched in Kerala on Thursday.

The aim of the initiative is to strengthen the spice farming community with the help of latest technologies.

Utilising mobile technology, this project paves the way to reach out to the spice farmers across the country with the aim of retaining India’s prime position in the global spice market and to ensure sustainability, traceability and food safety, Dr A. Jayathilak, chairman, Spices Board said while launching the Kerala Mobile Tele Network for farmers at Thodupuzha.

Sops to farmers

He said that farmers are given the prime place in the development programmes of the board. Cardamom grading machines will be distributed to farmers through growers’ societies. The grading machines will enable graded cardamom that could be put up for sale by farmers for better prices.

Nutmeg farmers will be given the technology to scientifically dry nutmeg and mace. Schemes are in vogue to help take mechanisation in farming operations, support schemes to retain farmers in organic production of spices etc. These schemes are now with the Planning Commission for approval, he said.

The Spices Board has taken up the Codex Alimentarius Commission of Rome, a proposal to harmonise standards for various spices, herbs and their formulations. The Commission had agreed to consider the proposal provided an international discussion between the stakeholders takes place.

The chairman said that the harmonised standards are very much needed in international trade. This has been sought by other producing countries also.

Free messages

Mr KG Luke, State manager, IKSL, said that registered farmers would get five voice free messages every day. Free Sim cards were distributed to the farmers who have registered for the programme.

The service will give a chance to the farmers to get first hand information about GAP, market details, new schemes of the Board, weather forecasts and the latest technological aids. It also helps to bridge the gap between the farmers and the authorities concerned.

(This article was published on July 19, 2012)
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