Kerala plantations may take 5 years to recover from losses due to rains

By: | Published: November 10, 2018 2:14 AM

The unprecedented monsoon and subsequent flood have caused widespread damages to the plantation sector and it may take the state more than five years to recoup the loss, Association of Planters of Kerala (APK), the apex body of planters, said on Friday.

plantation kerala, agriculture sector, agriculture industryKerala is home to several plantations that produce spices, tea, coffee, rubber and coconut.

The unprecedented monsoon and subsequent flood have caused widespread damages to the plantation sector and it may take the state more than five years to recoup the loss, Association of Planters of Kerala (APK), the apex body of planters, said on Friday.

“The total loss for the plantation sector estimated on a scientific bases is above Rs 3,070.85 crore. This is compounded by the factor that most of the agro-commodities are passing through a low price realisation phase”, said APK chairman Thomas Jacob.

He expressed concern on the health of the sector and said that nine plantations in Kerala are shut partially or completely due to unviable operations.

Kerala is home to several plantations that produce spices, tea, coffee, rubber and coconut. It also contributes 46% of India’s plantation produce, valued around Rs 20,000 crore. Plantation crops like pepper, cardamom, rubber, tea and coffee are highly monsoon-sensitive with production directly dependent on the timing and quantum of rain. While too much of rain damages most of the cash crops, too short a monsoon also leads to lower crop production.

APK reports that the loss to the economy on account of the damage inflicted through the natural calamities on the plantation crops needs to be seen differently from that of annual crops. This is mainly because of the specific characteristics of these crops, wherein once planted, their output is a flow for several years in future whereas in case of annual or seasonal crops, planting and output is confined to a season or an year.

The study initiated by APK has classified economic loss in the sector based on the damages suffered and the time taken to recover and has come up on six categories which include transitory loss, short-term crop loss, medium term crop loss, loss of production infrastructure and permanent loss, where the land has become unsuitable for cultivation.

Based on the classification, APK has arrived at a total loss of Rs 1,080.32 crore in cardamom, Rs 1,604.3 crore in natural rubber, Rs 209.62 crore in tea and Rs 176.6 crore in coffee.

APK officials add that the high cost of production and the low productivity coupled with price realisation below the cost of production have been plaguing this industry since 2012-13.
“Planters are unable to find credit to invest in the sector and replanting is being delayed for years. The average age of trees or plants in most plantations in Kerala is above the national average and productivity very poor,” he added.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Switch to Hindi Edition