Planters must not depend on government, says NITI Aayog member

Owners of tea, coffee, rubber and spice plantations must not depend on government policy and must rely on development, innovation and research to remain competitive in international and domestic markets, said Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog.

At the 126th annual UPASI (United Planters’ Association of Southern India) conference in Coonoor on Saturday, Mr. Chand said he had made a presentation to the Prime Minister illustrating how minimal support from the government to fishing, livestock and horticulture sectors resulted in better overall performance.

“In the case of fisheries where government support is minimal, growth of the sector is at 7.5%, while in livestock, growth is at 6.5%, and in horticulture, where there is some support, growth is at 3.5%. However, for crops where government support is maximum, growth is only 1% each year,” Mr. Chand said.

He added that plantation owners need to shift focus from relying on government intervention.

“The government will also have to create the right conditions in terms of favourable policies, but the onus is on plantation owners to use the path of development to ensure long-term sustainability,” he said.

Quoting figures from the Central Statistics Office, Mr. Chand said that growth rate of plantation crops sector in India was much better than field crops.

Higher input costs

A.E. Joseph, president, UPASI, delivering the presidential address, highlighted the challenges faced by planters across India, stating that climate change was one of the factors driving higher input costs.

“For instance, there was a drought last year which affected productivity, and in 2019, there was a drought in the beginning of the year, then intense showers which led to crop damage to plantations in Kerala and Karnataka. Planters will have to adopt new technologies like drip irrigation and wind energy in the future, for which government support will be appreciated,” Mr. Joseph said.

Prizes were distributed to winners of the 15th edition of the Golden Leaf Awards.

The winners were the Kodanad Tea Estate and the Vigneshwar Estate Tea Factory.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 6:51:16 AM |

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