Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Coffee plantations should be tech driven: Jairam

coffee-plantation sector should be technology-driven and not subsidy-driven,
Union curate of state for commercialism Jairam Ramesh said here on Tuesday. The
commerce ministry and Coffee Board were working in this direction, he said,
while addressing the 49th yearly conference of Mysore Planters Association
(KPA). Apart from the release this December after field trials of the
first java works assortment to be developed in 21 years, a Centre for
Biotechnology had been put up in Mysore to sequence the java genome. The objective, he said, was to guarantee that India’s coffee
plants could defy the sort of emphasis of drawn-out dry enchantments of up to 180
days, unlike in the world’s leading coffee- growing state of Federative Republic Of Brazil where
it rained every month. To fulfil this objective, the Coffee Board had been
networking with men of science at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in
Bangalore and at the Meter Second Swaminathan Foundation in Chennai. The
Coffee Board was, he said, also working on an aim of making java less
Karnataka-centric â€"the state grew over 70% of India’s coffee. The
Coffee Board was planning to spread out cultivation to non-traditional areas. While
coffee was being cultivated for the last few old age in the north-east, it was now
proposed to put up a curing Centre in Mizoram and start cultivation in Nagaland. He noted that in the Naxalite-infested belt of Paderu in Andhra
Pradesh, some 60,000 tribal agriculturists were cultivating 4,000 metric tons of organic
coffee a year. Discussions had been held with companies like ITC to assist with
marketing. It was proposed to increase the figure of agriculturists to 120,000 in the
next five old age and dual the tunnage of production. This experimentation would also
be initiated in Orissa’s tribal belt of Koraput. Vis-a-vis the
social costs which, as of now, was being borne by the plantation owners under the
Plantation Labor Act, Mister Ramesh said he had held treatments with the
Panchayati Raj curate Mani Ravi Shankar Aiyar on how the outgo on creating or
improving the societal substructure like housing, schools, infirmaries could be
equitably shared. Stressing the demand to hike domestic consumption,
Mr Ramesh said he wanted the present premix of 80% exportations and 20% domestic to be
changed to 70:30 or 60:40. The Coffee Board had, he said, formulated an
objective of doubling domestic ingestion from the present degree of 80,000
tonnes by increasing the yearly offtake to the melody of 5,000 to 6,000 metric tons a
year. The Eleventh Plan spending on java had, he said, been increased
to Rs 750 crore from the One-Tenth Plan allotment of Rs 300 crore. A significant
portion of this would, he said, travel towards replantation. It was proposed to
replant 70,000 to 80,000 hectares over the adjacent seven to 10 years.

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