One of the most well-known commodities that have come out of Vishakapatnam and the Godavari is the black pepper, which is sent to all parts of the country as well as some around the world. So much is the demand for the much-loved item that at the recent auction by the AP Forest Development Corporation has gotten a price of 2.66 Crore- which is a record.
Black pepper is in high demand not only in India, but is exported to Europe and North America owing to its amazing value in enhancing the taste of food as well as its importance as a medicinal item. It has been used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, respiratory and diarrhoea.
The response from a majority of bidders was excellent owing to the great demand and requirement of these pepper. The auctions were held at a function hall that was situated in MVP Colony in VIshakapatnam. The APFDC Vice-Chairman-cum Managing Director, Rajesh Mittal was also present at the event.
“Auction of 36.24 tonne brought us revenue of Rs.2.66 crore this time, the highest ever so far,” APFDC General Manager A.N. Gurumurthy told the media who were present there.
At the same time year, the corporation gained a large revenue volume too, with close to 47.33 Lakh netted for the auction of 15.36 tonnes of black pepper.
The pepper is generally grown at higher altitudes. However, parts of Vishakaptnam as well as the East Godavari districts have been known to cultivate black pepper, interspersed with coffee plantations. There are a lot of tribals who are involved and employed by the Coffee Board to produce and cultivate the pepper in the region.
Pepper plants are generally found and grown as creepers that hang from shady trees such as silver oak and are highly present in the plantations of Anantagiri, Araku as well as other hilly regions of the Eastern Ghats. This has also resulted in the growth of ecotourism in the region.
The APFDC grows pepper in the coffee plantations that stretch around 10,000 acres. The Coffee Board produces pepper in coffee as an inter-crop in a region close to 55,000 hectare. The fine flacour coffee that the APDFC have been producing has been lauded by many quarters. This has also helped in bringing in a lot of international clients who are big admirers.
The greenery that is present all over the Eastern Ghats can be used to increase the quality further, say experts. This can be done by getting more coffee in bigger areas and promoting and cultivating pepper under the shade.
The pepper production is grown with following the Vietnam model. This includes growing it as a mono-crop in long stretches of the hilly altitude regions and by planting it on wooden poles as well as concrete pillar. This does not disturb the eco-system. Vietnam is also one of the world’s most well-known as well as leading producers of pepper.