Farmers charges cooked up, says Spices Board

Kochi, Nov 13 | Updated: Nov 14 2005, 05:30am hrs
Chairman of Spices Board CJ Jose has said that the charges by some farmers in Andhra Pradesh that the board was neglecting them, were unfounded. Mr Jose told FE that the farmers were ignorant about the role of the board and had based their arguments on fabricated figures.

Chairman of Andhra-based Federation of Farmers Association Chengal Reddy had, in a letter to the Prime Minister, sought the scrapping of the Spices Board Act some time back. According to him, exports had declined. Refuting this Mr Jose said Indias share in global spice trade was 50% and not 8.5% as stated by Mr Reddy in his letter.

A section of the growers here said some other interests, not concerned with spices, had made him shoot the letter.

Recently, the Centre had convened a meeting of development of spices with the participation of the horticulture commission, directorate of arecanut and spices in Kozhikode and the Andhra outfit.

Mr Reddy had also accused the board of not supporting chilli cultivation. In reply Mr Jose pointed out that the initiative of the board at preventing Sudan-mixed chilli products, to which EU had earlier objected, had helped in raising exports to record levels and the boards much-acclaimed integrated pest management had been adopted in 69 Andhra villages.

Mr Reddy had said in his letter that the allocation of Rs 70 crore for the promotion of board brand Flavourit was a waste while Mr Jose clarified that the total budget for the board was only around Rs 30 crore.

Some growers and exporters felt that besides the Spices Exporters Forum and the board, only farm promotion agencies like the Institute of Spices Research, agriculture universities and central agencies should be involved in devising spice export and production strategies.