Limit use of insecticides, growers told

Madikeri hosts conference on cardamom and black pepper crops

With the European nations imposing a ban on importing food products and crops produced using high insecticides, the local spices cultivators should use insecticides within the limits, cautioned Cochin Spices Board Development Officer S Siddharamappa.

He was speaking at a conference on cardamom and black pepper crops jointly organised by Union Commerce and Industrial Ministry and Indian Spices Board at Rotary Hall in Madikeri on Wednesday.

Highlighting the role of India in producing spices, he said India’s contribution to the world market in producing spices is 48 per cent. But, unfortunately, the farmers in India use insecticides more than the required quantity with the greediness to cultivate more. This has led several developed nations to stop importing spices from India, he said.

“Spices grown in India are exported to countries like Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka where they do not follow the stringent policy of use of insecticide. India obtained highest yield in spices cultivation last year and earned Rs 9,800 crore by exporting products. The Spices Board has submitted a proposal to the Central government demanding to include cardamom development, financial aid provision, organic farming, adopting mechanisation in spices cultivation etc in the 12th Five Year Plan,” the officer said.

Sakaleshpur based Indian Spices Board Deputy Director G K Shekharappa said that support aid of Rs one lakh will be given from the Indian Spices Board to those cardamom growers who develop large quantity yield which is also good in quality.

Senior Scientist and Appangala Indian Spices Cultivation Research Centre Chief Dr Ankegowda briefed the participants about techniques of black pepper cultivation. About 45 to 80 black pepper saplings can be grown in an acre of land. One should ensure that the pepper farm is full of greenery, rather than keeping it dry. The plants should be watered during April and May. It is better to grow varieties of pepper plants in an acre of land. Steps must be taken to ensure that plants are not prone to any diseases, he said.

Cochin Spices Board Secretary P M Suresh Kumar, Sakaleshpura based Indian Cardamom Research Centre Chief and Scientist Dr S Krishna Bhat and others were present.

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