Special Correspondent

Government urged to follow Kerala model

  • Lack of pricing mechanism lamented
  • Appeal to Chief Minister to intervene before the Centre

    MANGALORE: Vanilla growers of Dakshina Kannada have urged the Government to follow the "Kerala model" to work out the marketing mechanism and support price for the crop. The growers met here on Saturday to formulate an action plan to counter the problems faced by them in the cultivation, marketing and processing of vanilla.

    The meeting came at a time when vanilla prices have crashed and buyers are few. General Secretary of the Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha (KPRS) Sunny D'Souza said that the Government had empowered the Spices Trading Corporation (STC) to buy vanilla, but the price it offered was much below the international market standards. The Government had also washed its hands off the crop after the STC took over the trading of spices in the country. This had left the farmers in a quandary as the Government had failed to direct the STC to first put in place a pricing mechanism, he said.

    Mr. D'Souza alleged that the STC and the Commerce Ministry had buckled under pressure from international vanilla exporters and were buying the crop at the same standards. However, the international market rates were guided and sustained by a sound price control mechanism, which neither the STC nor the Commerce Ministry had been able to adopt.

    As a result, the country's vanilla growers were facing a crisis.

    Mr. D'Souza said the Vanilla Growers Association of Dakshina Kannada had also sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister asking him to intervene and urge the Union Government to create a mechanism for regulating both the procurement as well as export prices of the crop. The association also demanded that a separate Special Export Zone (SEZ) be created in the State for spices