Agri Business

Karnataka pepper growers seek a replanting scheme under horticulture mission

Anil Urs Bangalore | Updated on July 19, 2011 Published on July 19, 2011

Pepper corns

Demand Kerala model to raise 45,000 ha of new plantation

Pepper growers in Karnataka have sought a special scheme for new planting and replanting of pepper under the National Horticulture Mission (NHM).

In Karnataka, pepper is grown widely in coffee estates in the districts of Kodagu, Hassan, Chikmagalur, and in Shimoga, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts as an intercrop.

At present, the Spices Board has given the responsibility for developing farming of pepper in Idukki and Waynad districts of Kerala under the mission.

“A similar programme on the lines of Kerala has to be extended to States of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for development of pepper crop. The board has already submitted the proposals to the State horticulture missions and Union Commerce Ministry,” said Mr Abul Kalam, member, Spices Board, and a pepper-grower from Jayapura in Chikmagalur district, Karnataka.

“So far Karnataka Planters' Association (KPA) has had two rounds of meetings with Karnataka Government's horticulture department under Ms Vanditha Sharma, principal secretary horticulture,” said Mr Sahadev Balakrishna, Chairman of the association.

“The principal secretary has requested the Spices Board to send a detail[ed] proposal [or] report with clear guidance to include pepper under NHM scheme,” he added.

To pursue this, the association, on its part, has formed a panel to negotiate with the State Government and Spices Board, which includes Mr Balakrishna, Vice-Chairman of the association, Mr Marvin Rodrigues, former chairman, Mr C.M. Pemmaiah, and Mr Kalam.

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.

“The board should be given the mandate to produce sufficient planting material of pepper and to supply to the farmers at 75 per cent subsidised cost to improve production levels,” said Mr Kalam.

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,” explained Mr Kalam.

Published on July 19, 2011

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