Coimbatore

Flower growers hail Kisan Rail Scheme

The program is touted to bring down the handling of the produce from seven times to four times.

The announcement of a Kisan Rail Scheme of trains with refrigerated coaches for farm produce has cheered flower growers of Hosur. At present, farmers incur about ₹50 per kg on both cargo charges and transportation from farms to Bengaluru airport adding up to ₹2.5 per stem to the final price of the flowers in the market.

“The Kisan Rail, we hope will be from Coimbatore to Delhi, which will bring down the handling of the produce from seven times (in cargo flight) to four times (in rail). This will also bring the cost of reaching the market to ₹20 per kg, says Bala Siva Prasad, president, Hosur Small Farmers Association. Similarly, Krishi Udan to provide connectivity to various routes, farmers hope, will eventually include Hosur. This was a demand that was made three years ago by farmers, says Mr. Prasad.

However, for Hosur’s flower growers, the import duty on plastic flowers – a product that has seen a spike in import along with Chinese toys impacting on flower growers and also the environment – has not been touched upon. The flowers growers of Hosur and Pune (another important flower production and export centre) have long been calling for a hike in import duties for plastic flowers since a ban on import of plastic flowers will be incompatible with the WTO regime.

“We demanded a 500 % hike on plastic flowers, since that would deter imports, or alternatively, tax on each use of plastic flowers. The plastic flowers once imported are used multiple times for events replacing fresh flowers and affecting flower growers. Instead, if the use of plastic flowers during decoration is taxed, it would be an active deterrent,” he says.

The third grievance is the budget not having a scheme to deal with agriculture surplus.

“The government imports onions, when there is a shortage for the public. But, when there is surplus, the government will have to procure the surplus from the farmer at a support price and make way for exports. A surplus becomes a farmer’s problem, and not that of the public.”

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 12:57:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/flower-growers-hail-kisan-rail-scheme/article30717999.ece

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