Plantation sector allocation increased to 4,112.29 crore for fiscal year 22-26

The Center has significantly increased the allocation to the plantation sector and estimates that commodities such as tea, coffee, spices and rubber can help achieve the targeted exports of $ 400 billion for 2021-2022.

“The Expenditure Finance Committee approved 4,112.29 crore for the period 2021-2022 to 2025-2026 against a budget allocation of 2,486.04 crore during the MTEF period (2017-2020) for the plantation sector , that is to say an increase of 65.42%, declared Monday Anupriya Singh Patel, Minister of State for Trade and Industry.

Addressing the 128th Annual Meeting of the United Planters Association of India (UPASI), Patel said the government approved the continuation of the tea development and promotion program from 2021-2022 to 2025-2026. with a financial expenditure of 967.78 crores for the whole development of the tea sector.

While the incentives for Orthodox tea have been removed, the focus has been on clearing grant applications. A provision of 298.76 crore has been made to offset subsidies in the tea sector, Patel said. The tea industry provides direct employment to over a million workers, of which nearly 55% are women. The smallholder tea sector is emerging as a major player in the tea industry producing 50.23% share in 2020, she said.

Boost NR output

Regarding rubber, Patel indicated that the productivity of rubber plantations increased from 284 kg / ha in 1950-51 to over 1,442 kg / ha. Total NR production is estimated at 7.80 lakh tonnes during 2021-22 and the government has taken steps for the expansion of rubber plantations in non-traditional areas, including the northeast.

With the goal of ensuring that the country is able to produce at least 75 percent of its NR requirements from domestic sources by 2025, a project to support the development of new rubber plantations in the north -is and improve the quality of processed forms of rubber with a contribution of 1,100 crore from leading tire companies, represented by the Association of Automotive Tire Manufacturers, has been agreed and a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed. The plan is to develop 2 lakh ha of rubber plantations in five years, she said.

Patel said spice exports peaked at $ 4 billion in 2020-2021 and that exports of ginger, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric and saffron, which have known therapeutic qualities. , have increased considerably.

UPASI President Prashant Bhansali said the value of plantation products in 2020-21 is estimated at 54,840 yen crore and export achievements at 12,470 yen crore. South India’s share in the value of plantation products is around 50 percent, while its share in exports is 70 percent.

Challenges encountered

Bhansali said plantations in the South are going through a difficult time given the high cost of production relative to price realization. The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the period of turbulence in the plantation sector, leading to serious cash flow problems.

Stating that restructuring all harvest and development loans into single-term loans will help the sector and have a positive impact on its long-term viability, Bhansali said the industry should be financed at a lower interest rate. to increase domestic production and improve global competitiveness. . He said the interest rate should be reduced to three percent on all crops and development loans paid to all plantations according to the applicable financing scale.

Bhansali further said there was a need to revise the RoDTEP rates, which are far lower than the recommendations made by the commodity commissions. The subsidized fertilizer for planting must be linked to the actual area cultivated and the allocation must be made on an annual basis. In addition, the archaic commodity laws enacted in the 1940s-1950s are outdated and need to be restructured to suit market realities while considering a higher allocation to commodity boards.

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