Kerala tribal farmers become pepper exporters to Germany
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has set up a role model yet again when it became the first state in the country, where the tribal farmers would directly export organic pepper to Germany. As per the innovative scheme, patronized by the state government, the three tribal communities at Vanchivayil village nestled deep in the Thekkady forests will export their first consignment of over four tones of organic pepper on April 12.
It was only after relentless persuasion of over eighteen months that the tribals could be coaxed to become exporters. The tribals get the full returns for their effort as this system operates sans middlemen.
Periyar Foundation, an apex body of 76 eco-development committees, the Forests Department and the state government has jointly organized the pilot project.
There were a lot of formalities involved in getting the organic certification ready from Lacon International, a company based in Germany apart from the Spices Board of India. At the outset, the German firm operated by the farmers’ society of ”Ecoland Herbs and Spices”, would be the main buyer to procure organic pepper. The best part is that the tribals would be getting over 33 per cent more than what they used to get before for their products as no middlemen are involved in the deal.