Staff Reporter

Low productivity a major problem, says bureaucrat

  • `Use of quality planting material essential'
  • Call to strengthen agriculture cooperatives

    KOZHIKODE: India's exports would get a significant boost in the coming years as more farmers switch to organic methods, National Horticulture Mission Joint Secretary S.K. Pattanayak has said.

    He was delivering the keynote address at a two-day national seminar on `Organic Spices and Aromatic Crops' which began here on Thursday.

    Mr. Pattanayak said if one assumed a market growth of 10 per cent in Europe, the U.S. and Japan for organic products, the world demand for organic spices might grow to 57,000 tonnes in the next 10 years. The seminar was jointly organised by the Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development, Kozhikode, the Regional Centre of Organic Farming, Bangalore; the Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kozhikode; Spices Board, Kochi; and Biogreen India and the Indian Society of Organic Agriculture.

    Low level of productivity when compared to other countries was a major problem encountered in the plantation sector, which includes spices, medicinal and aromatic plants, Mr. Pattanayak said.

    Pests and diseases, adverse climatic conditions like drought or incessant rainfall together with comparatively higher cost of production, further aggravate the problems in this sector, he said.

    The National Horticulture Mission has been emphasising the rejuvenation of the plantation sector including spices. He called for strengthening agencies like State cooperative marketing federations to enable them to carry out purchase and supply operations.