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    The new structure suggests 10% hike in the basic daily wage

    Bengaluru :

    Amidst the prevailing volatile price trend, an imminent wage hike of over 10 per cent is seen inflating the cultivation costs for the coffee growers of Karnataka, which accounts for more than two-thirds of India’s output.

    Negotiations of wage hike have been completed recently between the growers and labour unions and the Karnataka government is expected to notify the new wages soon.

    As part of the new wage structure, the basic daily wage is fixed at ₹305 — up 10.10 per cent over the current ₹277.41, said N Bose Mandanna, a member of the committee that negotiated the new wage structure. Including the other social costs, the total outgo for a worker would be in the range of ₹450-470 per day, he said.

    Total outgo up
    Labour wages account for around 60 per cent of the cultivation costs in the coffee sector, followed by fertiliser and fuel which constitute 35 per cent, Mandanna said.

    “The wage hike is going to affect the growers badly,” said HT Pramod, Chairman, Karnataka Planters Association, the apex body of the growers in the State.

    To offset the wage hike impact, the government should help the growers by reducing the interest costs. “We have urged the government to reduce the interest on loans up to 25 lakh at 3 per cent and above 25 lakh at 6 per cent,” he said. Pramod further said the impact of the wage hike could be more on growers of arabica, where the cost of production and pest incidence is higher and the productivity is low compared to robustas.

    Global production
    The revision in wages, after a gap of around four years, is happening at a time when the prices globally have been volatile and at multi-year lows.

    The prevailing bearish trend in prices is largely attributed to a surge in global output, which is seen heading for a record in 2017-18 (October-September) at 158.8 million bags (of 60 kg each), about 0.7 per cent higher than last year’s 157.7 million bags, according to the latest estimates of the International Coffee Organisation released on Tuesday.

    Production of arabicas is projected to reach 97.3 million bags — down 1.1 per cent from the 2016-17 season.

    Robusta production in 2017-18 is seen at 61.5 million bags, up 3.7 per cent over last year, mainly on account of rebound in output of Vietnam, the largest producer of the variety. The prospect of a hike in global output is seen resulting in a bleak outlook for rebound in prices.

    “We don’t have any hopes of getting a better price this year,” said DM Purnesh, a large grower in Chikmagalur.

    Back home, the harvest of arabicas is almost over, while that of robustas has commenced in the key growing regions of Kodagu and Chikmagalur.

    For 2017-18, the State-run Coffee Board sees a 12 per cent increase in total output at 3.5 lakh tonnes with output of arabicas estimated at 1.03 lakh tonnes and robustas accounting for the rest. Growers and the trade, based on the harvest and marekt arrivals, estimate arabica production to be around 90,000 tonnes, while that of the robusta could be much lower than the Board’s estimates.

    source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / Business Line / Home> Economy> Agri-Business / by Vishwanath Kulkarni / January 11th, 2018

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    December 11th, 2017adminBusiness & Economy, Pepper, World Opinion

    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.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Karnataka / by Express News Services / December 08th, 2017

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    August 26th, 2017adminAgriculture, Pepper
    The gene bank features 42 native varieties of black pepper

    The gene bank features 42 native varieties of black pepper

    Kozhikode :

    In a bid to arrest the declining fortunes of black pepper in its historical home turf, a farmers’ collective in Wayanad has set up a gene bank featuring 42 native varieties, including rare accessions, of the spice indigenous to Kerala. The Wayanad Social Service Society (WSSS) hopes to protect and popularize the native pepper varieties many of which have better disease resistance and drought tolerance but had been abandoned by farmers following the advent of high yielding hybrid varieties.

    Apart from protecting the diversity of black pepper in the state, the field gene bank of pepper, spread around three acres at Mananthavady, would also make available planting material of native varieties to farmers.

    The native pepper varieties which have been collected from Wayanad, Nilgiris, Coorg and other Malabar districts include the once widely cultivated Kalluvalli, Jeerakamundi, Neelamundi, Cherumaniyan, Karimunda, Ibe rian, among others. Farmers say that these varieties are drought tolerant when compared to hybrid varieties.

    “Kerala had earned its global monopoly in pepper trade from ancient times onwards. Though the yield of native varieties was less, they were resistant to drought, pests and disease at tacks. The intensive and unscientific high input farming of hybrid varieties using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, have contributed to decimation of pepper cultivation in many regions of Malabar,” said director of WSSS Father John Choorappuzhayil.

    He said that native pepper varieties for the gene bank were collected from remote tribal colonies apart from a few wild varieties of pepper from the forests.

    “We are still in the process of identifying and adding more native varieties to the gene bank. We hope to collect around 60 native pepper varieties soon,” he added.

    Dr N Anil Kumar, the director of the biodiversity programme of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, said that native pepper varieties could vanish forever if left unprotected especi ally in the wake of increasing challenges posed by climatic variations in the region.

    “The diversity of black pepper, which had its origins in the state, has immense genetic value. Also it is a historical and cultural treasure given its role in establishing the spice trade and pepper routes in medieval times originating from Kerala. Even the government should think of exploring the tourism potential offered by the on-farm assemblage of native pepper varieties,” he added.

    Anil Kumar said that farmers who took up the cultivation of native pepper varieties should be provided incentives by the government.

    “Also it would be prudent for farmers to set apart at least 10% of their land for cultivation of native varieties as is mandatory in some European countries,” he added.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kozhikode News / by K R Rajeev / TNN / May 30th, 2017

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    August 26th, 2017adminAgriculture, Pepper, Videos

    Published by ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research Kozhikode

    An 11 minute documentary film on success of black pepper farmers in Kodagu district of Karnataka who has been successfully adopted the high production technologies developed by the Cardamom Research Centre of Indian Institute of Spices Research, Calicut in Kerala. The documentary is produced under the NAIP Sub Project, Mobilizing Mass Media Support for Sharing Agro-Information.

    People & Blogs
    Standard YouTube License
    “Beckoning Hills” by Ronu Majumdar (iTunes)

    source: http://www.youtube.com / by ICAR – Indian Institute of Spice Research / May 31st, 2011

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