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Coffee growers seek Govt. help in tiding over price crisis

By Our Staff Correspondent

MADIKERI, JUN. 22. Coffee growers representing various organisations in Kodagu on Monday sought the intervention of the State and Central governments to come to their rescue in tiding over the price crisis prevailing in the last four years.

They wanted the elected representatives from Kodagu to apprise the Government of the present crisis.

Addressing presspersons here, the growers wanted the Government to fix a minimum support price (MSP) for coffee. Some of them argued in favour of loan and interest amount waiver.

The former Minister, M.C. Nanaiah, lamented that the former Union Minister, Jaswant Singh, who visited Kodagu two years ago, had announced that the growers would get some relief, but his promise had not been implemented. He urged the Members of Parliament from Kodagu, Chikmaglur and Hassan districts to play a decisive role in ending the coffee crisis.

On the demand for MSP, Mr. Nanaiah said that details should be worked out scientifically. He suggested that seeking an interest rate of five per cent over coffee loans would be a good proposition. There should be no room for politics when dealing with the coffee crisis, he said.

The growers urged the Government to repeal Rule 7B, under which all processed coffee would attract income tax in future.

B.T. Pradeep, a grower, said that the Centre should intervene to rescue coffee growers as coffee was a very high foreign exchange earner in the country.

Anwar Hussain of the Kodagu District Growers Okkuta read out a memorandum demanding that interest rate be fixed at or below six per cent and complete waiver of loans and interests of small and medium growers. The president of the Okkuta, Katti Mandaiah, said that MSP and loan waiver were the only ways to end the crisis.

The former president of the Codagu Planters Association, told The Hindu that the import of coffee from Vietnam, which was powdered in India and marketed outside the country, had been a cause for worry. Waiving interest partly or till the prices improved could also be thought of, he said.

Earlier, the Mangalore MP, Sadananda Gowda, and the Madikeri MLA, K.G. Bopaiah were felicitated at the City Municipal Council by its president, Kaveramma Somanna and vice-president, T.M. Aiyappa.

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