Special Correspondent

Spices Board to work with farmers in Guntur district

  • 2,000 tonnes of non-pesticide chilli to be produced this year
  • Plan to scale up production to 75,000 tonnes after 5 years

    HYDERABAD: The Spices Board will work with farmers to raise `non-pesticide' chillis in Guntur district under the Indira Kranthi Patham (IKP) programme, according to Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh.

    Mr. Ramesh, who met officials of the board here on Sunday, told presspersons that there was a great demand for chillis grown without using pesticides.

    Of the export of spices in 2006-07 worth US $ 600 million (Rs. 2,400 crores approximately), chillis constituted 25 per cent and Andhra Pradesh contributed 75 per cent of chilli export. Thus, the total chilli export from the State is pegged at Rs. 450 crores. While 2,000 tonnes of non-pesticide chillis would be produced this year, the idea was to scale it up to 75,000 tonnes of organic chillis after five years.

    Promoting coffee

    Mr. Ramesh, who also met officials of the Coffee Board, said the Government was proposing to promote `Araku Valley Coffee' as a brand name like `Pochampally Silk' and `Darjeeling Tea' internationally.

    While organic coffee was being grown in 75,000 acres in 11 mandals around Paderu in Visakhapatnam, the area would be increased to 1.35 lakh acres by bringing 60,000 acres more under cultivation.

    Beneficiaries would contribute 50 per cent of the expenditure through `shramdan'. A MoU would be signed between the Coffee Board and the Integrated Tribal Development Authority (ITDA). This would benefit 60,000 farmers. Mr. Ramesh later visited Gundrampally in Nalgonda and interacted with the members of SHGs that procure paddy from farmers.