India’s pepper farming community has voiced concern over the increase in imports of Sri Lankan spice into the country under SAFTA at 8 per cent duty and 10 per cent social welfare cess on duty, Indian media reported.
The Hindu Business Line said when the local pepper price is around Indian Rupee (₹) 325 per kg in the consuming markets, traders and growers are still confused on the need of imports at ₹500 minimum import price introduced by the government to curb such shipments under SAFTA.
Quoting port-wise figures, Kishore Shamji of Kishor Spices pointed out that pepper imports in July was 695 tonnes, a 49 per cent increase over the previous month of June at 372 tonnes.
The figure in January was 67 tonnes and it gradually moved up and the total imports between January-July stands at 1,412 tonnes.
“The rise in imports is a cause of worry for farmers when the Prime Minister himself is talking about Atmanirbhar Bharat and Vocal for Local and such shipments are against the interest of the domestic farming community,” Shamji said.
The government has introduced MIP to curb imports at concessional rate of duty under SAFTA, but it is being flouted widely, Hindu Business Line said.
The prices in Kochi pepper market remained steady on Thursday at ₹315 on the back of such reports, forcing farmers to hold back the stock. The arrivals to the market was 11 tonnes, traders said.