In the case of spices, Upasi has calculated the loss in pepper plantation atRs 510 crore as 30 to 40% of the crop are yet to be plucked. In cardamom sector 700 tonnes worth Rs 180 crore have piled up in the absence of domestic and export trade with the suspension of auctions.Kochi: The United Planters’ Association of Southern India (Upasi) has called for several measures to prop up tea and spices plantations which have been weighed down by losses due to Covid-19 lockdown.
Upasi has estimated that crop loss in south Indian tea sector due to lockdown at 23 million kg worth Rs 314 crore. In addition, the association said, the unsold tea for domestic market and export as a result of the suspension of auctions will come to Rs 168 crore.
In the case of spices, Upasi has calculated the loss in pepper plantation atRs 510 crore as 30 to 40 per cent of the crop are yet to be plucked. In cardamom sector 700 tonnes worth Rs 180 crore have piled up in the absence of domestic and export trade with the suspension of auctions.
In a letter to the Tea Board, Upasi chairman AL RM Nagappan has noted that the tea fields will have to be skiffed to bring them to the regular harvest cycle and the recovery period after this is 30-45 days. The projected cost for this is Rs 60.75 crore, he said. Upasi sought Rs 27.32 crore as wages for workers for the ten-day lockdown period, which has been lifted partially. It has also requested that PF contribution of both the employer and the employee should be borne by the government for next three months.
Other demands include payment of all committed incentives under various developmental schemes of commodity boards amounting to Rs 67 crore and extension of working capital interest rebate.
In a letter to the Spices Board, Upasi has called for implementation of minimum support price at cost of production plus 50 per cent as per M S Swaminathan Commission recommendation, for pepper and cardamom. Further demands include interest subvention of 3 per cent on loans, enhancement of crop loan limits by 25 per cent, restoration of merchandise export incentive scheme (MEIS) at 5 per cent , ban on import of pepper under FTA and also for re-export and increase in cardamom replantation subsidy.