Pepper imports: CM seeks Centre's intervention

Pepper imports: CM seeks Centre's intervention

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday sought the Centre's intervention in regulating imports of pepper and protecting the interest of the Karnataka's pepper growers, who have been hit by price crash in the last two years.

In his letter to Union Minister for Commerce and Industries Suresh Prabhu, Siddaramaiah has cited that the import of spices under the South Asia Free Trade Agreement, had resulted in low-grade pepper produced cheaply in Vietnam findings its way into India via Sri Lanka.

"The pepper grown in South East Asian countries are prone to diseases and there is high usage of chemical pesticides for pest control. It is also suspected that most of the imported pepper might be rejected consignments from elsewhere for high pesticide residues. The imported pepper is also being exported from India to foreign countries," the letter states.

Siddaramaiah said that the dumping of low-quality pepper had resulted in the crash of farm gate price from Rs 650 per kg to Rs 700 per kg to Rs 350 to 400 kg, in the last two years, causing distress to the growers in the state.

"Karnataka is the largest producer of pepper in India with an annual production of 14,500 tonnes. The imports will hit the reputation of the superior quality Indian pepper, and also affect its brand equity. There is an urgent need for the Centre's intervention in this regard," he has said.

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