India expected to double its cardamom output in four years

INDIAN cardamom production is likely to double within four years to touch 24,000 tonne, according to V Kurian, chairman of the country’s Spices Board.

Mr Kurian told the Financial Express that the massive re-plantation and rejuvenation exercise undertaken by the board would yield result in four years. He explained that the board is spending Rs1.22bn ($28.34m) over the next four years, out of which Rs500m will be used in the state of Kerala alone. “Farmers are positively reacting to the scheme and the results are encouraging,” he added.

The total area to be replanted is 28,000 hectares, of which 10,000 hectares is in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and 18,000 hectares in Karnataka. About 15,000 hectares will be rejuvenated in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Indian cardamom production reached a peak of 12,540 tonnes in 2005/06 and dropped to less than 8,000 tonnes in 2007/08 after being devastated by erratic rains in the producing region.

The Spices Board has also planned for the marketing of the increased output and is likely to concentrate on the nutraceutical benefits of cardamom to push more exports, Mr Kurian said.

The board will also establish a common facility centre in Idukki district for cardamom farmers. The board has identified 12 acres of land in Kuttady, near Vandanmedu for the centre, which will have facilities for drying, grading and packing of cardamom.

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