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Spices Board rolls out subsidy scheme to boost production, export

Business Standard:  July 31, 2015

Kochi: The Spices Board has launched a slew of steps to promote spice cultivation by offering subsidies and sensitise them about the need to undertake post-harvest quality enhancement techniques.

The Board will also provide financial assistance to farmers for irrigation, land development, mechanisation, replanting, soil conservation and organic farming of various spices. It will also give financial aid to purchase irrigation and farming equipment and tools.

Spices Board Chairman A Jayathilak said the initiatives are part of the Board’s 12th plan to improve export-oriented production of small cardamom and post-harvest improvement of other spices across spice-growing regions in India. “The eligibility criteria for availing the benefits are based on land held by the grower and is different for each programme,” he pointed out.  Availability of good quality planting materials of improved varieties for replanting/rejuvenation is the key to improve the productivity of cardamom. High-yielding and disease-free planting materials are to be made available to facilitate replanting. Subsidy at the rate Rs 2 per sucker and seedling for a maximum 10,000 suckers in Karnataka and Rs 2.50 per sucker in Kerala and Tamil Nadu is offered to the growers. According to growers, this would benefit roughly one lakh growers in the three southern states.

Under the schemes, small cardamom cultivators in Kerala and Tamil Nadu will get up to Rs 70,000 for replanting, while farmers in Karnataka will receive up to Rs 50,000. They will also receive an aid for planting material production. Kerala’s Idukki district is having the largest cardamom plantations across the country and produces about 6,000 tonnes annually.

For irrigation and land development, the Board will provide financial assistance up to 25 per cent of the actual cost for acquiring pump sets, sprinkler sets, equipment for gravity-fed irrigation system, and up to 50 per cent for water storage structure. The farmers will also get funding up to 25 per cent for soil conservation. Farmers have been facing a difficult situation due to decreasing prices in the last few months.

Honeybees play an important role in pollination of cardamom flowers. By promoting bee keeping in cardamom plantations, the productivity can be increased and also this will give an additional income to farmers. The Board is providing assistance for the supply five bee boxes per hectare at 50 per cent subsidy, limited to Rs 1,880 per box.  

Besides, the Board will bear 33 per cent of the actual cost (limited to Rs 12, 000) for the construction of 200 cubic metre capacity tanks for rainwater harvesting. They will also get a maximum of Rs 1 lakh in subsidy for purchasing improved cardamom curing devices and 50 per cent subsidy for GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) kits and bee-keeping boxes.

It also provides assistance for post-harvest improvement process of the spices in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and North-eastern states.

India exported spices worth Rs 14,899 crore (US$ 2,432.85 million) in 2014-15 as compared to Rs 13,735 crore (US$ 2,267.67 million) a year earlier.

In 2014-15,  a total of  893,920 tonnes of spices and spice products valued at Rs 14,899.68 crore were exported, registering 9 per cent  increase in volume and 8  per cent  in rupee terms in value as compared to 8,17,250 tonnes valued at Rs 13,735 crore in FY14.

Spice parks in Kota, Rae Bareli

The Spices Board will set up Spices Parks at Kota in Rajasthan and Rae Barely in UP. The Board has already set up Spices Park at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, Puttady in Kerala, Jodhpur in Rajasthan, Guna in Madhya Pradesh, Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh.

The Rajasthan government has allotted 30 acres at Ramganj Mandi in Kota free of cost to the Board for the purpose. The Park is meant for processing and value addition of seed spices, especially for coriander and cumin. The Board had allotted 14 acres to 12 spices exporters for developing their own processing units. The UP government  has allotted 11 acres. It will produce mint and mint products.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.