Coffee Board blends co-op subsidies into coffee kettle

In an effort to enhance the production of robusta and arabica coffees, the Coffee Board has proposed higher allocation for replanting and expansion, Coffee Board Chairman Jawaid Akhtar said on Thursday.

Under the 12th Plan subsidy rates have been proposed at 40 per cent for up to 2 hectares, 30 per cent for 2-10 hectares and 25 per cent for holdings of above 10 hectares.

Inaugurating the United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) and Karnataka Planters Association (KPA) coffee conference on Thursday, Akhtar said, “Coffee Board has proposed to increase the unit cost by 75 per cent to Rs 1,75,000 per hectare.”
For the first time, the Board has included corporates and co-operatives to avail of the subsidy.

Besides, the Board has also introduced subsidy for eco-certification at 50 per cent of the certification cost at a ceiling of Rs 50,000 per beneficiary. It has also enhanced subsidy for quality upgradation to Rs 2.50 lakh for up to 20 hectares.

UPASI President Vijayan Rajes said the coffee committee of UPASI will submit a proposal to the Coffee Board to forward it to the Centre to release funds for producing two new robusta clones and one robusta seedling. This will be in collaboration with Incaper, Brazil’s premium research organisation for conillon robusta.

“We are planning to have a new proposal to get India-specific arabica plants with know-how from Brazil,” Rajes added. “This will help us have 10 million clones supplied to coffee growers in the first four years; and, from the fifth year, the share of Indian robusta will be increased by 50 per cent,” Rajes said.

B M Mahesh Kumar, a coffee planter from Hosathota Estate, Ballupet, spoke on ‘Achieving High Productivity of Black Pepper through Water, Shade and Nutrition Management’. He said, “Disease control can be effected by following judicious Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM).”

“Many people are taking up mono pepper cultivation at the cost of arabica coffee which is not a good sign,” Kumar said, adding that farmers should adopt innovative methods to multiply pepper vines for higher production.

Indian Vanilla Enterprise Pvt Ltd and Indian Vanilla Initiative Pvt Ltd, Pollachi, Chairman R Mahendran speaking on ‘Cocoa Cultivation, Processing and Management’, said that the opportunity of cultivating cocoa as another inter-crop for coconut, arecanut and oil palm in select regions of Karnataka holds promise.

Ease of cultivation and management make cocoa an attractive income generator, Mahendran added.

UPASI-TRF (Tea Research Foundation) Valparai, Quality Assurance Assistant Director N Palani stressed the importance of maintaining organic matter in the soil for preserving the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil.

Palani added that since the top soil is rich in humus, it has to be safeguarded from erosion for which soild and water conservation measures, depending on the slope of the terrain, must be taken.

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