BHUBANESWAR: Even after witnessing 23 percent shortfall in kendu leaf production, the State expected a significant increase in total sale value due market demand.
"In spite of fall in production because of natural calamity, kendu leaf trade this year is expected to fetch more trade surplus over the last year," said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests A K Mohapatra.
In 2015-16, around 3.75 lakh quintals of kendu leaf was procured. This generated a total sale value of Rs 542 crore. Production during the current fiscal is expected be about 3.39 lakh quintals as the crop was destroyed by hailstorm in many areas. Mohapatra said the department has adopted more systematic post harvest management this time.
This was discussed in the Kendu Leaf Coordination meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi in state secretariat here today. The Chief Secretary directed to keep an eye over the price fluctuations in the market while selling the procured kendu leaves. He also directed to simplify the process of payment to the workers.
So far, around 8500 quintals of the leaf have been sold through auction generating a total sale value of Rs 225 crore. The department has also created kendu leaf development fund. As of now around Rs 107 crore has been augmented in this fund from trade surplus.
The Committee considered the infrastructural requirement for up-scaling kendu leaf operations in the State. The projects to the tune of Rs 54.90 crore was approved in the meeting. The major projects included construction of 20 new godown buildings, boundary wall at 60 sites and construction of 600 permanent phadis (store house) and modernisations of the kendu leaf offices.
It was also decided that local people will be allowed to use these phadis as multipurpose community centres during the non-operational period.