MANGALURU: Karnataka, one of two major black pepper producers in the country, has wholeheartedly welcomed the Union Commerce Ministry’s decision to fix Minimum Import Price of `500 per kg on pepper on CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) basis.
India produces about 65,000 tonnes of pepper of which state’s contribution is about 30,000 tonnes. Kodagu, Chikkakamagaluru and Hassan districts are the major pepper growing areas in the state apart from the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.
Konkodi Padmanabha, convenor, Consortium of Pepper Growers Association, told reporters here on Thursday that the decision will automatically block the import of poor quality pepper especially from Vietnam and as a result the demand for Indian pepper will increase. At present, farmers are getting a minimum of `380 per kg and experts believe that the prices may jump by `50-60 per kg in a fortnight and growers may get at least `700 a kg for the next season’s pepper.
CAMPCO MD Suresh Bhandary M said it may take another 2-3 months for the new prices to stabilise after the old stock is cleared.“The MIP will not be applicable for the licences already issued for import for Vietnam pepper. It will apply only for fresh licences.” Further, he said the fixing of uniform MIP for all grades of pepper and even crushed and ground pepper will avoid chances of adulteration.
Organisation’s co-ordinator K K Vishwanath urged the Centre to ban the import of black pepper into the country, impose dumping duty on imported pepper, hike the import duty from present 64 percent to 108 percent, allow the import of pepper only through any two ports for better monitoring, take strict measures to certify the quality of imported pepper and bring in laws to issue ‘Fake country of origin’ for imported pepper. He said they want ban in pepper import as traders may now use the Nepal route.
“Since there is no port in Nepal, foreign countries import to Nepal through ports in Kolkatta. Then it become easy for them to push it inside India as there is free trade agreement between the two countries.” Padmanabha thanked commerce minister Suresh Prabhu for his positive response to their petition in just 13 days and union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde and MPs Nalin Kumar Kateel, Prathap Simha and the state government for taking up their cause.