Cardamom plantation sector hit by lockdown restrictions; Spices Board to resume e-auction soon: Govt

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The Spices Board formulated SOP for the small and large cardamom sectors covering all aspects to ensure the safety of stakeholders

Cardamom plantation sector in the country has been affected due to the outbreak of COVID-19 outbreak and consequent lockdown and restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the pandemic and the situation is returning to normalcy after relaxing lockdown norms, the government said.

The major issues faced by the sector were the non-availability of labourers, and marketing facilities including logistics due to the restrictions in movement coupled with the decline in the commercial activities across the globe, said Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar in Lok Sabha on Sunday.

As the restrictions are relaxed by the government the situation is coming back to normal, he said.

In order to support the cardamom farmers for selling their produce, the Spices Board India under commerce ministry has initiated steps and restarted the e-auction for cardamom by following the covid protocol. The Spices Board has formulated standard operational procedures (SOP) for the small and large cardamom sectors covering all aspects from production to marketing, to ensure the safety of stakeholders.

The Spices Board has released an advisory on the diligent use of pesticides and practicing the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for the cardamom farmers. In view of the COVID situation, social media group of farmers were created for online dissemination of information on scientific cultivation practices and other cultural operations. Online webinars are being conducted at the field level to help the farmers and to address the issues in the sector.

Directorate of Arecanut & Spices Development (DASD) has reported that the Spices Board is implementing two schemes viz., for small cardamom and large cardamom.  In the small cardamom scheme, assistance is provided for re-planting (upto 8 hectare) Irrigation and land development, improved cardamom curing devices, supply of kits, bee-keeping boxes, mechanisation and extension advisory services.

The DASD reported that cardamom production in the country has declined in 2018-19 and 2019-20 due to the unprecedented flood and subsequent prolonged dry spell experienced in the major cardamom growing regions in the country, especially in the States of Kerala and Karnataka. 

Idukki, Wayanad, Palakkad and Kottayam districts of Kerala and Kodagu, Hassan, Madigeri, Chickmagalure, Shimoga Districts of Karnataka were among the worst affected districts.

DASD said that the Spices Board is encouraging farmers for area expansion of cardamom in non-traditional areas. Large cardamom has been cultivated in non-traditional areas like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur with much more efforts of the Spices Board.

Image credit: Mathrubhumi

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