Agri Business

Commerce Ministry to address pepper growers’ woes on imports, prices

Our Bureaus Kochi/Mangaluru | Updated on January 09, 2018

The Commerce Ministry has assured a delegation of pepper growers from Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu that it would address their grievances very soon.

A delegation comprising representatives from 14 grower bodies of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu recently met Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, and Director of Plantations Anitha Karan, to request the Ministry to address their grievances, according to KK Vishwanath, Coordinator. The delegation, he said, suggested that the Ministry take certain measures to help the pepper growers.

Addressing presspersons in Mangaluru on Tuesday, Konkodi Padmanabha, convenor of the consortium, said the price of black pepper — which was around ₹650 a kg last year — has dropped to ₹350 this year and blamed the import of what he called inferior quality pepper from Vietnam for this.

Some exporters import pepper from Vietnam under the ‘value-addition for re-export scheme’. Many exporters retain this pepper for sale in India, and instead re-bag and export the Indian variety as ‘processed and sterilised’ Vietnam pepper.

This enables the exporter to get back the import duty, which works out to around ₹150 a kg, he said. He alleged that pepper originating from Vietnam and Indonesia is also routed through Sri Lanka by producing the ‘certificate of origin’ of Sri Lanka.

The Customs duty on pepper should be increased substantially to curb imports, he said. Padmanabha said that the consortium urged the Minister to fix the minimum import price for pepper at $8,000 a tonne. There is no minimum import price for the spice.

Published on November 28, 2017

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