1. Agriculture World

The Arrival of Vietnamese Pepper has cast a shadow over Indian Pepper Farmers

Ajith Kumar V R
Ajith Kumar V R

Large imports of pepper, not directly from Vietnam to India, pose a major threat to Indian pepper. The incursions came from neighboring Nepal and Sri Lanka. In 2016, the market price of pepper was only Rs 350-400 per kg as against Rs 694 per kg in 2016. In early November, it dropped to Rs 322. Shirish Vijayendra, Chairman, Karnataka Planters' Association, said that the arrival of Vietnamese pepper through Nepal in 2015 was 48 tonnes and presently it stands as 5,930 tonnes.

Under the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Sri Lanka can import up to 2,500 tonnes duty-free. Sri Lanka is misusing that advantage. If brought under the SAARC agreement, the tax is 8 per cent and if brought under the ASEAN agreement, tax is 50 per cent of the cost. UPASI Vice President M.P.Cheriyan said that Sri Lanka and Nepal are helping to cut the tax on pepper produced in ASEAN countries and bring it to India. Pepper growers and sellers are demanding immediate action from the central government in this regard.

The organizations demanded that the import of pepper be curtailed and that the export of Oriented Units (EOU) and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) units be directed not to sale in the domestic market and that these units be asked to export after high end value addition to the imported good. India's current production of pepper is 54,640 tonnes. Of this, Kerala produces 30,470 tonnes and Karnataka 19,190 tonnes. There is also an urgent need for state governments to address this issue, association representatives said.

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