KOCHI: Aiming to boost the production of spices in the country, a sectoral body has launched a slew of measures to support farmers by offering various subsidies.
The new measures include educating them on the need to enhance the quality of spices through post-harvest improvement techniques.
This comes at a time when in fiscal 2014-15, 893,920 tonnes of spices and spice products valued at Rs.14,899.68 crore ($2.4 billion)were exported, a nine percent increase in volume and eight percent in rupee terms against 817,250 tonnes valued at Rs.13,735.39 crore in the previous fiscal.
Spices Board Chairman A. Jayathilak said the initiatives are part of its efforts during 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17) 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 said.
Under the new schemes, cultivators of small cardamom in Kerala and Tamil Nadu will receive up to Rs.70,000 for re-planting, while farmers in Karnataka will get up to Rs.50,000. They will also receive aid for planting material production.
To help small cardamom farmers in the three southern states in irrigation and land development, the Board will provide financial assistance up to 25 percent of actual cost for acquiring irrigation pump sets, sprinkler sets, equipment for gravity-fed irrigation system, and up to 50 percent for water storage structure.
The farmers will also get funding up to 25 per cent for soil conservation.
Besides, the Board will bear 33.33 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 percent subsidy for GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) kits and bee-keeping boxes.
Under the board's Farm Mechanization Programme, small cardamom growers in these states will get 50 percent subsidy for purchasing weed-cutter/pit-maker, equipment for plant protection and for washing, grading and polishing cardamom.
It also provides assistance for post-harvest improvement process of the spices in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and northeastern states.
This includes funding up to 50 percent for seed spice thresher, pepper thresher, turmeric boilers and polishers, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) kits for chilli growers and mint distillation units.
The Board will provide a maximum of Rs.5 lakh as subsidy to Spices Producer's Societies in major spice-growing regions in the country.