The Karnataka Planters’ Association (KPA) has urged the Spices Board to introduce a special scheme that will promote new planting and replanting of pepper in the State.

The special scheme could be covered under the National Horticulture Mission, it said.

“We request the National Horticulture Mission (NHM), under the Union Ministry of Agriculture, to approve the proposal submitted to the Spices Board and extend the pepper development scheme,” said Nishant R Gurjer, Chairman, KPA.

inter-crop

In Karnataka, pepper is grown as an inter-crop in coffee estates in Kodagu, Hassan, Chikmagalur, and in Shimoga, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts.

Abul Kalam, Spices Board member and a grower from Chikmagalur said,

“The State government has requested the Spices Board to send a detailed report to include pepper under NHM scheme.”

To pursue this, the KPA, on its part, has formed a committee and represented the issue with the State Government and the Spices Board.

Kalam said: “We are requesting the Spices Board to include Karnataka on the lines of Kerala. “Growers are seeking assistance for 5,000 hectares under replanting and 45,000 hectares for raising new plantation.”

As part of the mission, pepper growers have sought planting materials, currently unavailable to exclusive spice-growers.

rain water harvesting

In addition, the growers have also sought assistance for rain-water harvesting, irrigation and land development.

“On this, the Spices Board should provide 75 per cent subsidy at the present unit cost as the cost of these equipment, water storage devices have increased considerably and farmers cannot afford it,” said Kalam.

anil.u@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 25, 2012)
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