No intention of closing Coffee Board, says Union Commerce and Industry Minister
Bengaluru: Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has assured stakeholders of the coffee industry that the Central Government does not have any intention of closing down the Coffee Board.
However, in order to provide better services to coffee growers, especially small growers, it is proposed to shift the Coffee Board from the Ministry of Commerce to the Ministry of Agriculture, he said. “This will help extend benefits of all agri schemes to coffee growers,” he added.
The Minister said this while holding a detailed interaction with coffee growers, roasters, exporters and other stakeholders in Bengaluru on Saturday. “The provisions of Indian Coffee Act of 1942 will be re-looked into and we will remove those which are restrictive and regulatory to come up with a simple Act that suits the current needs of the country’s coffee sector and facilitates its growth,” he said.
The present Coffee Act was enacted in 1942 and it has many provisions which have become redundant and are impediments to the coffee trade. “Held a review meeting of Coffee Board in Bengaluru. Discussed ways to scale up production & exports, enabling higher returns for coffee farmers,” Goyal tweeted.
Research on Coffee White Stem Borer
At the meeting, Goyal gave assurances to resolve the problems faced by stakeholders. He assured the growers that a request will be made to Agriculture Department and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to initiate advanced research on Coffee White Stem Borer.
The Minister expressed his solidarity with the coffee growers in this period of distress and assured to work out a feasible package in discussion with the concerned Ministries. In the meeting, the Chairman of Coffee Board requested Goyal to announce restructuring of all existing loans into a single term loan with long repayment period and also extend fresh working capital with soft interest.
The Minister directed the Coffee Board to develop a Dashboard for real-time updation of extension activities including field visits, workshops, demonstrations and seminars to be undertaken by the extension personnel in the farmers’ fields and to effectively monitor the same.
Coffee growers expressed concerns over losing their lands due to the notices issued by the banks under the SARFAESI Act — which permits banks or financial institutions to auction residential or commercial properties of a defaulter to recover the loan.