Saying that the Coffee Act would be simplified, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said that he would discuss the implementation of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act with other Ministries to address the concerns of coffee growers losing their land.
Interacting with coffee growers, roasters, exporters and other stakeholders of the coffee industry at Coffee Board in Bengaluru on Saturday, the Minister said that the present Coffee Act, enacted in 1942, has many provisions that have become redundant and are impeding coffee trade. It has been decided to look again at the provisions of the Act to remove those provisions that are restrictive and regulatory in nature, so as to bring in a simple Act that suits the present needs of the coffee sector and facilitates its growth, an official release said.
On the SARFAESI Act, while many coffee growers expressed concerns about losing their land in view of the notices issued by banks, the Minister assured the grower fraternity that the issue would be favourably discussed with other related ministries and a suitable solution found soon. When the Coffee Board requested the Minister to announce restructuring of all existing loans into a single-term loan with long repayment period and to also extend fresh working capital with soft interest, Mr. Goyal expressed his solidarity with the coffee growers in this period of distress. He promised to work out a feasible package with the ministries concerned, the release stated.
Mr. Goyal also said that there was a proposal to shift the Coffee Board from the Commerce Ministry to the Agriculture Ministry to ensure that benefits of all schemes of agriculture are extended to the coffee growers. He also directed the board to develop a dashboard for real-time update of extension activities, including field visits, workshops, and demonstrations to effective monitoring. The Minister also said that a request would be made to the Agriculture Department and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research to initiate advanced research on coffee white stem borer.
Mr. Goyal also assured the exporters that a special package to assist agri exports at least for one year would be considered under the transport and marketing assistance scheme.
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