Union Minister of State for Industry and Commerce Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday rebutted Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) chairman Madhav Gadgil’s report, which stated coffee plantations are responsible for depleting forest wealth.
“The use of pesticides and chemical fertlisers in coffee plantation is not going to affect the ecology in Western Ghats as feared in the WGEEP report,” he said.
The panel had blamed the increasing commercial plantations for destroying forests, water bodies and soil erosion in Western Ghats. The panel also suggested to phase out use of pesticides and weedicides within five years and promote organic agricultural practices. However, Scindia said there was no need for such a fear.
Speaking at Karnataka Planters’ Association (KPA) annual meeting, Scindia said there is a proposal to include co-operative and corporate plantation in replanation scheme and subsidy limits. The KPA (Chikmagalur), however, criticised the state government for bad infrastructure (roads) in the plantation areas of Chikmagalur, Kodagu and Hassan.
Addressing the reporters on Wednesday, KPA chairman Marvin Rodrigues said, “The government has to improve the infrastructure like roads and power supply in the plantation districts. Otherwise, it would increase the cost and make us globally incompetitive.”
The KPA estimates a flat domestic coffee production of 3 lakh tonnes this fiscal year.