Coffee Law Simplification Center to Promote Ease of Doing Business
The government will review the coffee law to adapt it to the current needs of the sector and facilitate its growth, the Ministry of Commerce announced on Saturday.
The issue was discussed, among other things, during an interaction between Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal with coffee growers, roasters, exporters and other stakeholders at the Coffee Board’s headquarters in Bangalore.
Coffee producers have expressed their concerns about the loss of their land in view of the opinions issued by banks under the Law on Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Collateral (SARFAESI).
The minister assured the coffee producers that the issue would be discussed favorably with the other ministries concerned and that an appropriate solution would be found quickly, he added.
The current Coffee Law was enacted in 1942 and contains many provisions that are redundant and hamper the coffee trade.
“Therefore, it was decided during the meeting to completely review the provisions of the law and remove provisions of a restrictive and regulatory nature in order to come up with a simple law that meets the current needs of the coffee sector and facilitates its growth” , indicates the press release.
Several exporters have expressed concern that due to the increase in international freight rates, Indian agricultural exports to several destinations are no longer competitive.
They called for increased assistance under the Transport and Marketing Assistance Program (TMA).
Goyal assured exporters that a special program to support agricultural exports for at least a year would be considered as part of the program to overcome the current crisis.
On the issue of the coffee moth disease, the minister said that a request will be made to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Indian Agricultural Research Council (ICAR) to initiate advanced research on this topic.
In addition, the Coffee Board asked the Minister to announce the restructuring of all existing loans into a single term loan with a long repayment period and also to expand the new working capital with reduced interest.
Goyal assured them that a workable package will be drawn up after discussion with the relevant ministries, he added.
The Minister instructed Coffee Board to develop a dashboard for real-time update of extension activities including field visits, workshops, demonstrations, seminars to be undertaken by extension staff in farmers’ fields and monitor them effectively.
Allaying stakeholder apprehension about the closure of the Coffee Board, Goyal said the government had no such intentions.
However, in order to provide better services to coffee producers, especially small producers, it is proposed to transfer the Coffee Council from the Ministry of Commerce to the Ministry of Agriculture, according to the statement, adding that this will ensure that the benefits of all programs for the agricultural sector are extended to coffee producers.