To make Indian pepper competitive in international markets and to bring in economies of scale in production, Spices Board has announced new schemes for growers.
Starting with the installation of pepper threshers for hygienic separation of pepper berries from the spikes, the other components are provision of bamboo mats for drying pepper in hygienic conditions, cleaning and grading units and user-friendly ladders for harvesting from the vines.
All the schemes are designed to motivate the growers to produce export quality pepper by ensuring clean and hygienic practices. It is expected to benefit the growers in terms of minimising the operations costs and mitigating the labour shortage problem as it covers all sectors of harvesting, cleaning and drying.
According to Spices Board officials, it is proposed to provide over 1,100 units of pepper threshers during this plan period in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and North Eastern states. The increase in export volumes can be achieved only through massive processing under regulated scientific facilities.
The current practice of manual cleaning and grading using sieves is labour-intensive, time consuming and has the risk of contamination, the officials added.
– The Hindu