Tough time for cardamom growers in Kerala amid Covid-19 lockdown

New Delhi (NVI): The Covid-19 outbreak has hit cardamom cultivators in Kerala very hard as they find themselves in a difficult situation due to the nationwide lockdown.

In Kerala, which leads the country in total cardamom production, 30000 Ha (Hectare Unit) of cardamom cultivation is estimated to have affected due to lockdown, according to the Spices Board of India, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Cultural and plant protection operations have been hindered in the plantations due to restrictions imposed, creating inadequate labour resources, seriously affecting the final round of harvesting, post harvesting operations, etc, according to the Spices Board.

“The entire system of production and supply links were disrupted causing economic loss to the stakeholders in many ways,” the board said in a statement.

Farmers and traders were worried about the low demand, decline in price and deterioration in quality due to storage over long period.

However, Spices Board developed an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) to be followed in the cardamom plantations and proposed schemes/programmes for interim relief to various stakeholders in the industry which has been submitted to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry for approval.

Apart from that the Board has successfully resolved the issues faced in the export of small cardamom to Saudi Arabia recently. This has spurted a new wake in the sector to facilitate better price realization, the board said in a statement.

The Spices Board is the nodal agency for marketing of Indian spices in domestic and global markets. Recently, the board was also looking at the option of online auction of cardamom to help mitigate the impact of Covid-19 crisis.

Besides this, there have been many discussions on medicinal properties of spices and the Board has proposed for the development of commercially viable nutraceutical products based on these properties. The Board has said that currently, sustaining the production, export of spices, ensuring quality and food safety are of paramount importance.

“Hence emphasis will be given on food safety in all nodes of the supply chain and production and exports of organic products, the Board said, adding that it is in the process of suitably modifying the existing schemes in this regard.