Condition unfavourable for pepper: Growers

Condition unfavourable for pepper: Growers

Budding pepper vines at a plantation in Kitturu village of Somwarpet taluk.

The continuous rain has been creating worry for pepper growers and the rainfall may be unfavourable for the crop.

In recent years, many coffee planters switched to pepper, owing to the issues in the maintenance of Arebica coffee. But, they have not been able to earn a good profit in pepper either.

Even though places like Tanniruhalla, Suntikoppa, Masagodu and Negalle had a harvest of pepper, in the rest of the region, the growers did not see a good harvest, owing to rainfall in the month of July last year.

The taluk has a favourable climate to grow pepper and agriculturists in Gowdalli, Nerugalale, Doddamalte, Gopalapura, Ganaguru, Nidtha, Dundalli, Valnuru Tyagatturu, Madapura and Suntikoppa Gram Panchayat limits, grow pepper crop for better prospects.

Currently, the price of dry pepper per kg ranges between Rs 350 and Rs 390 in the local market.

The pepper vines are let to creep on silver and other trees planted for shade in coffee plantations. During the last four years, growers in the region have been following the method.

After the market price of coffee fell, pepper came in handy for the growers as it offered a market price of Rs 600 to Rs 750 per kilo.

In Somwarpet taluk, pepper is grown in 4,500 hectares. The market prices vary according to the fluctuations in the global market. Sometimes, prices in the local market vary as per the buying trend.

There has been a great demand for good quality pepper from India in the global market. However, after low-quality pepper from foreign countries was imported by some businessmen, the market rate of Indian pepper plunged badly.

In the country, 2.20 lakh tonnes of pepper is being produced per annum and about 40,000 tonnes is used internally, while the remaining 1.80 lakh tonne is exported to foreign countries.

Pepper grower Satish from Heggula village said that the growers should be able to process pepper in the district and export the crop directly to the global market, to get good returns.

But, as there are no such facilities, the pepper growers in the regions have been dependent on the vendors in other states, he said and urged the government to establish a processing unit in Kodagu.

If the pepper flowers start budding in the months of May and June, there will be good crops in the next year. But, if the budding begins at the end of June and later, there will not be good crops.

Horticultural department senior assistant director Sindhu said that 1% Bordeaux solution should be sprayed on pepper vines or three to five litres of Copper Oxychloride  (600 gram per barrel) should be provided to the stem, to protect the vines.