Agri Business

Harrisons Malayalam seeks govt help to rebuild infra

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on August 26, 2019

India, particularly Kerala, is a high-cost producer of plantation crops   -  The Hindu

The plantations major Harrisons Malayalam Ltd has voiced concern over the frequent natural calamities and said could ring the death knell for the industry in South India.

“We were badly hit by Cyclone Okhi in 2017, causing damage of ₹3.5 crore to our rubber estates. Similarly, our capital and infrastructure losses in the last two years to floods and landslides in the tea fields is estimated at ₹11 crore. In view of the continued losses in operations, it will be difficult for us to rebuild the infrastructure and carry out the replanting of the damaged areas without government support,” said Cherian M George, Chief Executive and Director, HML.

The challenges posed by the natural calamities, change in weather patterns and rising temperature levels are serious threats to the plantation business. Post-economic liberalisation, plantation crops in India are exposed to severe global competition.

India, particularly Kerala, is a high-cost producer of plantation crops. Hence tea, rubber, coffee and cardamom are not able to cover the cost of production and are unable to compete with other countries who are able to produce these crops at a much lower cost.

“Now we are faced with yet another challenge of natural calamities and change in weather pattern,” he said.

Considering the landscape of Kerala, the company has suggested formation of a Ministry for Environment, Health & Sustainability to coordinate activities in forest, agriculture, urban development, industries, housing, revenue etc. A detailed study is essential on sustainable practices followed in other ecologically fragile countries.

The government should also frame a plantation policy, enlarging the scope of plantation crops and encouraging cultivation of perennial crops. HML grows tea and rubber as main crops and engage around 11,000 employees, he added.

Published on August 26, 2019

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