KOCHI: Plantation sector has been going through a stressful time due to climate change and by not being able to fetch profitable prices for the plantation commodities, said United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) president A E Joseph.
“Cardamom production during 2018-19 is estimated to be 12,950 tonnes from 20,650 tonnes the previous year, mainly owing to the rain damage last year. Estimated export is one of the lowest in the recent past at 1,250 tonnes compared to 5,680 tonnes in 2017-18. The only solace is the price levels averaged at Rs 1,477 per kg during the last season. Pepper production too declined in India last year from 70,878 tonnes to 62,144 tonnes. Prices of pepper last year dropped to an average of Rs 360 per kg which had touched the 700 mark in 2016. In pepper as well, the unregulated excessive import was the reason for the decline in prices,” an official release quoted Joseph as saying while addressing the 126th annual conference of UPASI.
“Wage levels in South India being very high compared to the other plantation regions have a significant impact on the viability of the plantation industry,” he said. He also stated the high-cost producing region of Southern India is unable to withstand the global competition.
“Plantation crops are not able to cover the cost and there is an urgent need to enhance the income by engaging in other activities. This is an area where we need the government support, both from the Central as well as the state governments,” he said.