The Spices Board proposal for imposing a minimum import price (MIP) of ₹500/kg on pepper has been approved by the Central Government, to help domestic farmers against a surge in imports.

Due to cheaper import from other countries price of domestic pepper has been declining which has been a major concern among pepper growers. Pepper production which has been at ₹700 per kg last year is now trading at slightly above ₹400.

Commerce & Industry Ministry release said that pepper prices have gone down by nearly 35 per cent in one year and which resulted in a lot of hardship for pepper growers.

Taking advantage of lower duty under SAFTA (South Asia FTA) and India-Sri Lanka FTA, pepper from the region is being routed through Sri Lanka taking advantage of the lower duty. Since most of the pepper-producing countries are in the ASEAN region.

Farmers’ associations demanded the government take stern action including fixing of MIP, to prevent cheaper imports of pepper. Fixing of MIP will help in improving the domestic price, especially during the harvesting season which is fast approaching, the release also said.

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