July 29, 2019
Coimbatore : United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) on Monday sought the support of the Centre to the plantation industry to overcome the impasse of unremunerative prices and very high cost of production.
It has been a challenging time for more than one and a half century-old plantations in South India providing livelihood and welfare amenities to a large number of workforce, mostly women, due to unremunerative prices and very high cost of production, UPASI president AE Joseph said.
Plantations being labour intensive, the labour component had high impact on the cost and wages in South India, Joseph said in a statement.
Prices were determined by world supply and demand situation. he said, adding that most of the importers and major buyers insisted on sustainability certificate from foreign certification agencies to ensure that the plantation commodities they procured were produced in a sustainable manner. But it was unfortunate that they did not offer a sustainable price.
The price of paddy increased 4.86 times, maize 5.67 times, wheat 4.84, arhar 7.09, moong 8.72 and urad 7, whereas tea prices increased only by 2.46 times, coffee arabica 1.92 and robesta 1.58 and rubber
2.47. If the inflation rate is factored in, the increase should have been 4.36 times, he said
On the wages front, which constituted more than 50 per cent for plantation commodities, it was more appalling, he claimed.
Tea workers wages during the period increased by 7.69 times, coffee 9.72 and rubber 8.2, he said.
The need of the hour was high-yielding variety planting material resistant to pests and diseases and tolerant to drought and machines for harvesting and field operations suitable to the hilly terrains, Joseph said.
The government was putting in place necessary regulatory mechanism for doubling farmers income, he said hoped that with suitable Government support, the plantation industry will be in a position to overcome this impasse.