To re-build it­self, plan­ta­tion sec­tor seeks bank funds

The Hindu Business Line - - COMMODITIES -

Ker­ala's ail­ing plan­ta­tion sec­tor is seek­ing fi­nance from banks and other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions at low in­ter­est rates to re-in­vent it­self and to im­prove pro­duc­tion.

The waiv­ing of agri­cul­ture in­come tax and plan­ta­tions taxes by the Ker­ala Gov­ern­ment will be a boost to the cri­sis-rid­den sec­tor and there is a need to in­stil in­vestor con­fi­dence in the busi­ness, said Thomas Ja­cob, Chair­man, As­so­ci­a­tion of Planters of Ker­ala (APK).

No re-plan­ta­tion ac­tiv­ity has hap­pened since 2012-13, even as is­sues of high cost of pro­duc­tion, low pro­duc­tiv­ity cou­pled with price re­al­i­sa­tion be­low the cost of pro­duc­tion, and ris­ing labour cost have af­fected in­vestor-con­fi­dence. No­body has come for­ward to in­vest in the sec­tor though plan­ta­tions are con­sid­ered an agri­cul­ture ac­tiv­ity, he said.

The need of the hour is to im­ple­ment a broad pol­icy on plan­ta­tions with­out chang­ing the na­ture of land. “We can carry out cul­ti­va­tion of fruit trees, bam­boo, indige­nous trees of tim­ber value as in­ter-crop on a PPP model, multi-crop or stand­alone crop with­out chang­ing the ba­sic struc­ture of plan­ta­tions,” Ja­cob told re­porters on the eve of the 79th an­nual gen­eral meet­ing.

The cur­rent role of plan­ta­tions is gen­er­ally as a bulk com­mod­ity pro­ducer. By en­cour­ag­ing value-ad­di­tion through clus­ter devel­op­ment, re­turns to the grower and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­nity can be sub­stan­tially in­creased. He also sug­gested in­tro­duc­ing a min­i­mum sup­port price for plan­ta­tion crops as per the for­mula rec­om­mended by the M S Swami­nathan Com­mis­sion.

He said that the un­prece­dented rain and floods have taken a se­vere toll on the sec­tor and the es­ti­mated loss across the four ma­jor crops is put at ₹3,070.85 crore.

Ac­cord­ing to C Vi­na­yaragha­van, im­me­di­ate past chair­man, of APK, the plan­ta­tion in­dus­try can play a key role in re­build­ing Ker­ala, es­pe­cially the West­ern Ghats. The sec­tor can cre­ate en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able, eco­nom­i­cally vi­able, em­ploy­ment gen­er­at­ing agro in­dus­try.

B P Kari­appa, Vice-Chair­man, APK, urged the gov­ern­ment to ex­tend sup­port through the cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion fund for soil and wa­ter con­ser­va­tion as also bio­di­ver­sity strength­en­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.