This is a discussion on Promotion, marketing top plantation industry's agenda within the Investment forums, part of the Financial Services category; South India's plantation industry wants the government to prepare a regulatory framework that can help boost the consumption of tea, ...
South India's plantation industry wants the government to prepare a regulatory framework that can help boost the consumption of tea, coffee, rubber and spices.
Even as stakeholders of the plantation industry gather here for the 112th annual two-day conference of the United Planters Association of South India (Upasi) beginning Monday, lack of promotional avenues to market their commodities has created a crisis.
While the sector has put behind its worst-ever recession in the recent past with higher production, exports and prices, absence of government support is stalling growth prospects in a market dominated by colas and other beverages, including fruit juices.
"Over 90 percent of the plantation commodity sector is dominated by small growers with marginal holdings. They do not have sufficient funds to take on cola multinationals and others in their battle for greater market share," outgoing Upasi president Anil Kumar Bhandari said here on the eve of the conference.
"While trendy café chains like Café Coffee Day and Barista have been attracting the younger generation, the quantum of coffee consumption hasn't gone up much," Bhandari told.
Domestic consumption of aromatic coffee remains about 30 percent of the total consumption of soft beverages, even in the face of changing lifestyles and higher disposable incomes.
India, one of the world's leading producers of the commodity, exports about 70 percent of its coffee bean production, mainly to Britain, the US and the European Union.
Of the 275,000 tonnes of coffee produced in 2004-05, about 194,843 tonnes were exported, fetching Rs.11.09 billion ($253 million), as against 232,684 tonnes of exports in 2003-04 valued at Rs.11.58 billion.
According to the post-blossom forecast of the Coffee Board, the production during the current fiscal is estimated at 294,000 tonnes, including 105,600 tonnes of Arabica and 188,400 tonnes of Robusta beans.
Notwithstanding promotion efforts of players in the organised sector, no significant increase in tea consumption has been seen in southern markets even as other parts of the country continue to patronise it.
"We have made representations before the commerce ministry and its coffee and tea boards to chalk out medium and long-term strategies to promote the beverages with marketing support and funds for increasing their consumption," Bhandari said.
"We are yet to hear from the government in this regard."
Playing an integral role in the country's economy, the 1.32-million plantation growers in the three southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka employ about 2.13 million workers over 1.52 million hectares of land.
Accounting for two percent of the country's total agricultural production, the plantation commodities in south India posted a combined revenue of Rs.127 billion ($2.8 billion), including Rs.31.5 billion in exports, during 2004-05.
Production of coffee, natural rubber and a majority of spices including cardamom and pepper, comes exclusively from the three southern states, which contribute about 23 percent of the country's tea production.