0.24 mil­lion

Down to Earth - - Covid-19 / Rural Crisis -

the As­so­ci­a­tion of Planters of Ker­ala (APK). Some 55 per cent of tea pro­duced for ex­port from the Nil­giris and Idukki didn’t find buy­ers, he says. While the lock­down has com­pounded their woes, tea es­tate work­ers say they need to keep pluck­ing the tea leaves on time, or else the plants will have to be pruned and they will have to wait for a few more months to re­vive the yield. As per Coonoor-based United Planters As­so­ci­a­tion of South In­dia, tea es­tates in the re­gion could have in­curred losses to the tune of `250 crore due to the lock­down.

Data with Kochi-based Spices Board shows car­damom farm­ers across the south In­dia might have suf­fered losses to the tune of `210 crore. Nearly 80 per cent of car­damom trade hap­pens through auc­tions in­volv­ing in­ter­na­tional agen­cies and car­tels. Now auc­tions have stopped and re­tail sales have also reached a stand­still. “Com­pa­nies deal­ing with spices in Delhi and sub­urbs con­sume 20 to 25 tonnes of car­damom a day,” says K V Vargh­ese, a car­damom cul­ti­va­tor in Adi­mali in Idukki, adding that any ex­ten­sion to the lock­down will have a dis­as­trous im­pact on the sec­tor.

While black pep­per farm­ers in Ker­ala’s Wayanad and Kar­nataka’s Kodagu are likely to have in­curred losses of `80 crore, APK says the nat­u­ral rub­ber sec­tor has suf­fered a loss of `350 crore. How­ever, the price of la­tex, used for making gloves, is likely to in­crease from cur­rent `102 a kg.

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