Plantation sector in India’s Kerala state seeks intercropping, new varieties to counter increase in imports

The plantation sector in India’s southern Kerala state, hit hard by unrestricted imports of commodities, has asked the state government to encourage intercropping and value-addition to increase the overall turnover in the sector

Unbridled imports have led to a huge imbalance between output cost and price realisation, affecting local tea, coffee, cardamom and rubber production.

The value of production of plantation crops in Kerala that was at Rs 21,000 crore in 2012-13 has now declined sharply to about Rs 9,751 core, mainly on the back of imports.

In the total cultivated area in Kerala, plantation crops accounts for about 0.7 million hectares, which is about 27 percent of the total area. Around 42 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) contribution of crops in the state is from plantation crops.

In order to overcome the crisis the traders and farmers have asked the state government to encourage inter-cropping and value-addition with crops such as rambuttan, mangosteen, jackfruit and local varieties of mangoes.

The rambutan is a medium-sized tropical tree native to the Malay-Indonesian region,and other regions of tropical Southeast Asia. It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits like lychee.

Mangosteen tropical evergreen tree is believed to have originated in Indonesia. It grows mainly in Southeast Asia, and other tropical areas such as Puerto Rico and Florida. The mangosteen is sweet and tangy, juicy, somewhat fibrous, with fluid-filled vesicles like the flesh of citrus fruits, almost like custard apple.

 

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He also advises companies on thought leadership imperatives.

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