Upasi is asking for export incentives for planting plants, value-added goods

The United Planters Association of South India (Upasi) emphasized the need to encourage exports by raising the prices of plantation products to five percent and the prices of value-added goods to 7 percent. The current RoDTEP prices of 1.7 percent for tea, 1.4 percent for coffee, 1 percent for pepper and 1 percent for cardamom  are not attractive for exports, Upas director Jeffry Rebello said  at the 130th annual conference. 

  Exports from the crop sector  are in an “uncompetitive position” compared to other sources of exports due to infrastructural inefficiencies and other related costs. He said the industry operates on very small margins and needs continuous support with export incentives, infrastructure development and other incentives to improve export competitiveness. 

 Crop output produced in 2022-23 was estimated  at  farm level at ₹ 54,420 crore, equivalent to 1.9 percent of agricultural GDP, with  export realization of ₹ 16,133 crore. For agricultural exports, the value of crop exports was 7.7 percent. He stated that climate change has a strong direct and indirect impact on agricultural activities and hampers cultivation due to delayed monsoons, deficient monsoons, unexpected heavy rains, reduction in the number of rainy days and others. 

The path of orthodoxy 

 In relation to tea, the  president of Upas said that global demand has shifted in favor of orthodox tea, which is more expensive to produce. The cost difference between CTC and orthodox production is estimated at ₹ 26/kg. This requires the restoration of the orthodox production incentive system. The increase in orthodox production will reduce the excess supply of CTC teas in the domestic market and thereby increase the price of CTC and green leaves for smallholder farmers. According to him, there is a huge added value here, because coffee is perceived by consumers as an affordable luxury. Consumption is growing globally, with advanced growth at the top. Since 70 percent of the coffee produced here is high-quality Robusta and Arabica, India’s market share in the major markets of Germany, Italy and other European countries must be secured. 

 Regarding natural rubber, Rebello expressed concern that the increase in import duties would apply only to the most favorable countries and  not necessarily to countries with which India has signed free trade agreements. “We have asked the government to confirm the minimum import price of compound rubber. According to the ASEAN Agreement, the concession on import duties on rubber rubber should be reviewed and the Rubber Council should be allowed to issue no-objection certificates for each batch of rubber compound imported.

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