Kerala government plans various initiatives for plantation sector growth: Industries Minister Rajeev

Noting that Kerala accounts for 46 percent of all plantations in India, the Minister Rajeev said plantation sector in the state has a long history.

ByPTI

Published Jan 18, 2024 | 11:27 AMUpdatedJan 18, 2024 | 11:27 AM

P Rajeev

Kerala Industries and Coir Minister P Rajeev has said that the state government is planning to implement various policies for the plantation sector, with the aim to maximise its potential through diverse strategies.

He said these initiatives involve adopting multi-pronged strategies to facilitate optimal and sustainable utilisation of assets.

The objective is to establish a valued brand for high-quality products and cater to global demand, said Rajeev, who also holds the Law portfolio.

The minister said the state government has been making concerted efforts, by taking stakeholders on board, to further strengthen the crucial sector ever since the formation of a separate Plantation Directorate under the Department of Industries & Commerce (DI&C) in 2021.

This was done with a long-term vision aimed at scaling up the capacity of the plantation sector in a scientific, sustainable and inclusive manner by adopting policies and supportive measures, Rajeev was quoted as saying in the statement on Wednesday, 17 January.

The plantation sector

Noting that Kerala accounts for 46 percent of all plantations in India, the minister said the plantation sector in the state has a long history and has had a deep impression on the socio-economic journey of Kerala.

“While it continues to be a key contributor to the state’s economy and provider of jobs, it is faced with some serious and sensitive issues which need to be addressed collectively,” Rajeev said.

The state government has entrusted the Indian Institute of Management in Kozhikode (IIM-K) to conduct an in-depth study on the current status of the plantation sector and come up with recommendations.

The IIM-K team has visited various plantations and met estate owners, labour representatives, and state and central facilitators, and the final report is expected to be ready in another two months.

Based on this report, the government would take more measures, he said.

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KERA project

The plantation sector will also benefit from the $285 million World Bank-aided Kerala Climate Resilient Agri-Value Chain Modernisation (KERA) project aimed at modernising the state’s food and nutritional security, the statement said.

The components earmarked for the plantation sector in this project would enable the government to step up support for the rejuvenation of plantations, the minister said.

Seeking to optimise the utilisation of the assets, the government has already allowed 5 percent of plantations to be used for purposes like horticulture, cultivation of supplementary crops and tourism and allied activities in a responsible and ethical manner.

A single-window system will be set up at the Plantation Directorate to give clearances for such proposals.

Also, a policy intervention to allow the growing of commercial crops other than the specified ones on plantation land is under the consideration of the government.

Improvement of the living spaces of labourers, known in local parlance as “layams”, is another step. The improvements to the living spaces can be taken up by the planters themselves by availing credit from the bank and the government is planning to subsidise part of the interest, Rajeeve said.

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