Plantation Expo lays road map for future, experts deliberate on key themes

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· Four-day expo showcases diverse products from estates, draws big crowd

The four-day Plantation Expo, organised by the newly set up Plantation Directorate of Kerala Government, concluded here today with experts sharing their perspectives on strengthening the vital sector and raising a global brand of Kerala’s plantation products, besides showcasing diverse produce from estates across the state.

Starting on a high note with Industries Minister Shri P Rajeeve announcing that all incentives received by MSMEs in the state would be extended to the plantation sector as well, the event saw planters, subject experts, planners and academics engaging in deliberations on the way forward for the state’s storied plantation sector by tackling the challenges ahead and exploring new channels of growth.

The expo displayed rich and diverse plantation products including a large variety of tea, coffee, spices, cashew, spices, coir products and an assortment of value-added items including culinary delights.

The expo at Sooryakanthi Exhibition ground, the first of its kind held in the state, drew a steady stream of visitors from the day one.

Shri Rajeeve set the context for the deliberations for the seminars at the event, noting that though nearly 42% of the country’s plantation is in Kerala the sector is having a tough time which needs to be overcome soon, which is crucial for the economic development of Kerala and the wellbeing of the workers engaged by the sector.

At seminars in subsequent days, the participants focused on live issues facing plantation sector in the country in general and that of Kerala in particular.

The speakers, drawn from different parts of the country, made a strong case for strengthening the post-harvest infrastructure, value-addition of produce to tap domestic and global market, adopting sustainable farming practices to meet grim challenge posed by climate change, capitalising on big demand for wood by earmarking part of large estates for tree-planting and further strengthening the institutional support.

They lauded the Kerala Government on setting up a dedicated Plantation Directorate as part of the Directorate of Industries and Commerce as this initiative would lead to focussed efforts enabling further growth of the sector, which has played a key role in socio-economic development of Kerala.

The website of Plantation Directorate was also launched at the inaugural function of the event.

According to Shri Suman Billa, Principal Secretary, Industries, the Plantation Directorate will help significantly contribute to the revival of plantation sector, which is currently having a rough ride. Shri A. P. M. Mohammed Hanish, Principal Secretary, Industries, stressed the importance of attracting more people to the plantation sector which is drastically affected by the challenges like climate changes.

The expo featured over 100 stalls showcasing the products from plantations registered in the state, cooperative societies in the plantation sector, traders, distributors and service and equipment providers. The expo also had information counters of the Central and State institutions in the sector.

Public entry was free to the expo on all days.

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