Growers seek relook at pepper duties under trade pacts to curb cheap imports
This has put pressure on domestic pepper prices, which have slumped to Rs 300 per kg at present, he said and urged the government to relook at the duty structure.
Pepper growers have demanded that the government have a relook at the lower import duty structure India has under trade pacts SAFTA and ISLFTA so as to protect domestic players. There is a concessional duty of 8 percent for the spice under the SAFTA (South Asia Free Trade Agreement), while import of 2,500 tonnes of pepper is allowed at zero duty under the ISLFTA (Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement).
"There are apprehensions that since most of the pepper-producing countries are in the ASEAN region, pepper from the region is being routed through Sri Lanka taking advantage of lower duty under SAFTA and ISLFTA," Consortium of Black Pepper Growers Organisation (CBPGO) coordinator Vishwanath KK told PTI.
A representation on this issue has been made to union ministries of agriculture, commerce, and finance, he added.
South India based CBPGO further said that Indian pepper is of high quality and domestic prices have always been about 40 percent higher than Vietnamese pepper.
But domestic pepper prices have fallen below the cost of production of Rs 341 per kg at present, it said.
While the fixing of minimum import price (MIP) at Rs 500 per kg has helped contain imports to some extent, the local prices still remain lower, it added.
CBPGO represents 10 lakh indigenous growers from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
India's pepper output stood at 58,000 tonnes during 2017-18, while the consumption was around 72,000 tonnes, as per the grower's body.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)