New Delhi: The Minister of Trade and Industry had detailed interaction with coffee growers, roasters, exporters and other stakeholders at the Coffee Board headquarters in Bangalore. The main outcomes of the meeting are as follows:
I. Simplification of the coffee law:
The current Coffee Law was enacted in 1942 and contains many provisions that have become redundant and hamper the coffee trade. Consequently, it was decided during the meeting to completely review the provisions of the law and to remove the provisions of a restrictive and regulatory nature in order to come up with a simple law that meets the current needs of the coffee sector and facilitates the growth.
II. SARFAESI Law:
Coffee growers have expressed concern over losing their land in light of the advisories issued by banks under the SARFAESI law. After a detailed interaction, the honorable minister assured the brotherhood of producers that the matter would be discussed favorably with other ministries concerned and that an appropriate solution would be found quickly.
III. Aid reinforced under the Transport and Marketing Assistance Plan (TMA):
Several exporters have expressed concern that due to the increase in international freight rates, Indian agricultural exports to several destinations are no longer competitive. If the government does not support agro-exporters with increased assistance under the Transport and Marketing Assistance Program (TMA), India could lose many agricultural export markets forever to other competing origins. The honorable minister assured exporters that a special program to support agricultural exports for at least one year would be considered under the TMA program to overcome the current crisis.
IV. Coffee emission
White Borer: The Minister, having understood the severity of the damage caused by white borers in coffee, by coffee growers and also taking into account the fact that the research wing of the Coffee Board has limited resources, assured growers that a request would be made to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Indian Agricultural Research Council (ICAR) to initiate advanced research on the white coffee borer.
V. Special package for the restructuring of coffee loans and the interest subsidy:
At the meeting, the president of the Coffee Council asked the Minister to announce the restructuring of all existing loans into one term loan with a long repayment period and also to extend the new working capital with interest. reduced.
The Minister expressed his solidarity with the coffee growers in this period of distress and assured to develop a feasible package in discussion with the Ministries concerned.
VI. Strengthening of the Coffee Board’s popularization activities:
The Minister instructed the Coffee Board to develop a dashboard for real-time update of extension activities, including field visits, workshops, demonstrations, seminars, etc., to be undertaken by the extension staff in farmers’ fields and monitor them effectively.
During the meeting, the Minister categorically allayed the concerns of stakeholders and assured them that the Indian government has no intention of shutting down the Coffee Board. However, in order to provide better services to coffee producers, especially small producers, it is proposed to transfer the Coffee Council from the Ministry of Commerce to the Ministry of Agriculture. This will ensure that the benefits of all agriculture programs are extended to coffee producers.
Overall, all coffee stakeholders expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the Minister of Trade and Industry for responding to their issues with compassion.
They also assured the Minister that they would all unite their efforts to increase coffee production, exports and work to increase income for coffee producers.