Coffee, spice yields hit in Karnataka & Kerala; Darjeeling tea gets GI tag

New Delhi: The Coffee Board’s Extension teams carried out preliminary surveys in the calamity affected areas in Karnataka and Kerala to estimate the extent of damage to the coffee plantations due to floods and landslides, and damage to standing coffee crop due to premature fruit drop and fungal diseases.

As per the preliminary assessment in Karnataka state, out of the total bearing area of 2,26,244 hectares, an area of about 97,365 hectares has been reported to be affected by crop loss of more than 33% and an area of 620 hectares is reported to have been affected by landslides/floods. In Kerala, an area of about 850 hectares has been reported to be affected with crop loss of more than 33% and about an area of 16 hectares of plantations are reported to have been affected by landslides or floods.

As per the assessment made by the Directorate of Horticulture, Karnataka, 11502 hectares of black pepper, 3184 hectares of ginger, 573 hectares of turmeric and 25891 hectares of chilli have been severely affected in the State due to heavy rain this year with an estimated crop loss of more than 33%.

In Kerala, the Department of Agriculture Development and Farmers Welfare made an assessment of crop damages due to heavy rain. It found that 40.2 hectares of black pepper, 88.67 hectares of nutmeg, 13.25 hectares of ginger, 25.08 hectares of cardamom and 0.56 hectares of clove were severely affected by rain. More than 3500 nutmeg farmers and more than 3000 pepper farmers in Kerala had to bear losses.

Further, the Spices Board had assisted the State Government of Karnataka in the assessment of the damage caused to the cardamom plantations due to heavy rains in the Coorg district. As per the report, about 1800 hectares of cardamom plantations have been affected with a crop loss of more than 33%. The report has been submitted to the State Government.

Under the extant provisions of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), relief in the form of input subsidy for agriculture crops, horticulture crops, annual plantation crops, perennial crops and sericulture is provided when crops loss is 33% and above. For the perennial crops, norms of assistance are Rs. 18,000 per hectare.

Coffee and Spices need a minimum of 3-4 years for economic yield after planting. The Coffee Board, Spices Board, and Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development have not constituted any Task Force during the current year to assess the extent of damage due to natural calamity.

Meanwhile, for protection of Darjeeling Tea from cheap tea of other regions, the Tea Board of India has put in place the Darjeeling Trade Chain Integrity System wherein permission from the Tea Board is required to deal in Darjeeling Tea. Additionally, it has issued labelling guidelines for packers who intend to sell Darjeeling Tea. Each packet sold as Darjeeling Tea has to mandatorily source 100% teas from Darjeeling only. Moreover, Darjeeling green and white teas have received Geographical Indication (GI) tags with effect from 24 October 2019.

This information was given by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on 20 November.

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The ID Staff

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