There are five statutory Commodity Boards under the Department of Commerce. These Boards are responsible for production, development and export of tea, coffee, rubber, spices and tobacco.
(i) Coffee Board
The Coffee Board was set up under Section (4) of the Coffee Act, 1942. The Board is headed by a Chairman and functions from Bangalore. The Board administers four Regional Coffee Research Stations, a Coffee Research Institute, a number of Regional Field Stations and Coffee Demonstrations Farms. The primary functions of the Board include formulating and implementing programmes and projects for growth and development of the coffee industry; promoting coffee consumption in India and exports in the international market; supporting research; extension and developmental activities for raising productivity; evolving pest and disease resistant varieties; and prescribing and enforcing quality standards at all stages.
Coffee Development Programme in NER
Coffee Board since 1970 is engaged in the development of coffee in North Eastern Region (NER) with a view to providing sustainable income to tribal growers and to wean away the tribal inhabitants from ‘Jhum’ cultivation. Since XI plan period Coffee Board has been implementing a comprehensive Coffee Development Programme covering the seven North Eastern States viz., Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. The scheme comprises support for Coffee Expansion, Consolidation of Existing Holdings, Quality Up gradation, Marketing of coffee, Raising of Group Nurseries. Besides these the Board through its Research & Extension set up in the NE states, has been providing support in terms of research, transfer of technology and capacity building to coffee growers. Recently, the Board has strengthened its extension manpower in the NE Region by filling up of regular posts for an effective implementation of the coffee development programme.
The total financial allocation for Coffee Development in NE Region for the current financial year (2012-13) is Rs.5.50 Crore out of which 5.37 Crore has been utilized as on Feb 2013.
There has been a gradual increase in the production of coffee in NE Region. The production of coffee in NE Region increased from 143.20 MT in 2009-10 to 220.00 MT in 2011-12.
(ii) Rubber Board
The Rubber Board was set up under Section (4) of the Rubber Act, 1947. The Board is headed by a Chairman with head quarters at Kottayam. It has five Zonal Offices, thirty nine Regional Offices, a number of Field Stations, Rubber Development Centers and Regional Nurseries. The Board is responsible for the development of the rubber industry by way of assisting and encouraging scientific, technical and economic research; supplying technical advice to rubber growers; training growers in improved methods of planting, cultivation and manuring and collecting statistics from the owners of estates, dealers, manufacturers.
(iii) Tea Board
The Tea Board was constituted as a Statutory Body on 1st April, 1954 under Section (4) of the Tea Act, 1953. The Board is headed by a Chairman with head office at Kolkata. As an apex body for the tea industry in India, the Board has two Zonal Offices at Guwahati and Coonoor and 13 Regional Offices spread over different parts of India, one Research Centre at Kurseong (Darjeeling) and three foreign offices in London, Moscow and Dubai. The primary functions of the Board include rendering financial and technical assistance for cultivation, manufacture, marketing of tea; promoting tea exports; aiding research and developmental activities for augmentation of tea production and improvement of tea quality; encouraging and assisting the unorganized small growers sector financially and technically and collecting & maintaining statistical data and its publication for the benefit of growers, processors and exporters.
(iv) Tobacco Board
The Tobacco Board was constituted as a Statutory Body on 1st January, 1976 under Section (4) of the Tobacco Act, 1975. The Board is headed by a Chairman with headquarters at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, and is responsible for the development of the tobacco industry. The Board also has a Directorate of Auctions at Bangalore and 18 Auction platforms across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The primary functions of the Board include regulating the production and curing of Virginia Tobacco; keeping a constant watch on the Virginia Tobacco market in India and abroad; ensuring fair and remunerative prices to growers; maintaining and improving existing markets and developing new markets abroad by devising appropriate marketing strategies. The Board is entrusted with the task of recommending to the Central Government the minimum prices that may be fixed; regulating tobacco marketing in India with due regard to the interest of growers, manufacturers and dealers; propagating information useful to growers, traders and manufacturers and purchasing Virginia Tobacco from the growers when the same is considered necessary for protecting the interests of growers. During the year 2009-10, a “Tobacco Board’s Growers’ Welfare Fund”, has been created to implement the “Tobacco Board’s Growers’ Welfare Schemes”, with one time contribution of Rs.17.536 crores by the Tobacco Board. This will be subject to the contribution from growers and the Tobacco Board in the ratio of 1:2. A rehabilitation package to Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco farmers who wish to shift out of tobacco cultivation is also being contemplated.
(v) Spices Board
The Spices Board was constituted as a Statutory Body on 26th February, 1987 under Section (3) of the Spices Board Act, 1986. The Board is headed by a Chairman with its head office at Kochi and is responsible for the development of cardamom industry and promoting the export of all the 52 Spices listed in the Spices Board Act, 1986. The primary functions of the Board include increasing the production and productivity of small and large cardamom; development, promotion and regulation of export of spices; granting certificate for export of spices; undertaking programmes and projects for promotion of export of spices (like setting up of spices parks, support of infrastructure improvement in spices processing etc.); assisting and encouraging studies and research for improvement of processing, grading and packaging of spices; striving towards stabilization of prices of spices for export and controlling and upgrading quality for export (including setting up of regional quality evaluation labs and training centers). In regard to cardamom, the Board also provides financial and other assistance for cultivation and processing of cardamom; monitoring prices; increasing domestic consumption; improving marketing; registering and licensing brokers (including auctioneers), e-auction system; undertaking, assisting or encouraging scientific, technological and economic research and improving quality. The Board also implements programmes for development of spices in NE region and organic spices in the country; it also supports programmes aimed at better post harvest practices.