The Kerala Government is setting up a one-man commission to study problems faced by the ailing plantation sector, particularly tea, rubber, cardamom and coffee.

Retired judge N Krishnan Nair has been asked to present the report in a month. The decision to appoint the panel was taken at the weekly meeting of the State Cabinet on Wednesday.

During the recent negotiations to end the labour strike for higher wages, the government had offered to appoint a commission to study the crisis in the plantation sector.

The plantation sector in Kerala, particularly tea gardens and rubber plantations, is undergoing one of the worst crisis in the recent times, caused by dwindling commodity prices and rising cost of production, causing both corporate plantations and individual planters too make heavy losses.

The price fall has hit the High Range region in Idukki the worst. The fall in price of tea has enveloped all tea gardens in the country, including those in the Nilgiris, Darjeeling and Assam. As for rubber, large tracts of plantations in Kerala are left untapped. Small farmers, who dominate the rubber sector, find it uneconomical to tap the trees, and have abandoned harvesting.

Recently, following the two-week strike by labour unions for higher wages, the basic wages were raised by around 30 per cent in trilateral negotiations that included the State government.

An Association of Planters of Kerala (APK) functionary told BusinessLine that the APK would present a detailed report on the current situation.

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