Kochi: The 24th international symposium on Plantation Crops (PLACROSYM) bringing together eminent scientists and researchers from the plantation sector to brainstorm and debate about the challenges of change especially after COVID-19 began on Tuesday at Bolgatty Palace here.
Dr.R Chandra Babu, the Vice-Chancellor of Kerala Agricultural University, inaugurated the symposium for which the theme is 'Coping with the Pandemic and Beyond: Research and Innovations in the Plantation Crops Sector'.
In his inaugural address, Babu said a thorough and continuous research and development will immensely add value to the plantation sector.
The symposium will discuss the current scenario in the plantation sector which is challenged by the outbreak of the COVID -19 pandemic along with vagaries of climate, environment and habitat, pesticide usage issues, inadequate plantation labour and high input costs.
The symposium is expected to pave the way for overcoming this crisis and to bridge strong linkages between the industry and the scientific community. Main crops covered under the symposium are Tea, Coffee, Spices, Rubber, Coconut, Arecanut, Oil Palm, Cashew, Cocoa and other plantation crops of commercial importance
D Sathiyan, the Secretary of Spices Board, during his keynote address said despite the challenges thrown by the pandemic, the spices exports scaled a new high crossing USD 4.1 billion in export value.
He said the Board is focused on achieving a USD 10 billion in spices exports in the coming year.
"Plantation sector is prevalent in 3 per cent of cultivated area but it contributes to 27 per cent of total agricultural commodity export," he said.
The Plantation Crops Symposium (PLACROSYM) was initiated in 1978.
PLACROSYM is held biennially under the aegis of different Research Organizations/ Institutions engaged in research and development of plantation crops in the country and covers all aspects of research, development and extension of spices and plantation crops, including Genetics and Breeding, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Agronomy and Soil Science, Pest and Diseases, Physiology and Biochemistry, Harvesting and Post-harvest Processing Technology, Value Addition, Product Development and Diversification, Quality Control, Marketing, Economics, Statistics, Technology Transfer and Extension.
The PLACROSYM is organised by the Indian Cardamom Research Institute, Indian Society for Plantation Crops, the research wing of Spices Board under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt of India, Coffee Board, ICAR-CPCRI, Coconut Development Board, Directorate of Cashew Research, ICAR-IISR, Rubber Board, TOCKLAI, UPASI, SOPOPRAD.
The symposium will provide a common forum for interaction between the scientists and stakeholders engaged in the plantation crops sector. PTI