Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has written to Union Food and Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal for setting up a spice and food park in his parliamentary constituency of Wayanad in Kerala.
In his letter to Harsimrat Kaur dated January 16, Rahul Gandhi said, "Wayanad is one of the 117 aspirational districts. This district is a major producer of coffee, pepper, turmeric, ginger and varieties of scented rice."
He highlighted that under the aspirational district plan for Wayanad, there is increasing demand for crops like coffee, ginger, turmeric, scented rice and spices.
"The Aspirational District Programme highlights the poor marketing network and insufficient processing and value addition facilities as a weakness in the agriculture sector," he said.
He pointed out the potential of agri-processing industry in Wayanad and the need to create opportunities to augment farm income in a geographically challenging terrain.
"The Ministry may consider the feasibility of setting up a Mega Food Park in Wayanad," he said.
In his letter to Goyal written on the same date, Rahul Gandhi said that Wayanad is the largest producer of turmeric and second largest producer of pepper in Kerala. It is also home to a large number of homestead farms and smallholder plantations, he said.
"Wayanad's home gardens are widely recognised for their sustainable practices, with immense potential for organic farming," he said.
"The cultivation of cash crops is a major source of foreign exchange earning for the district. I urge the Commerce Ministry to consider setting up a spice park in Wayanad," he said.
Wayanad is known for its spice plantations mainly consisting of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, ginger and vanilla. The tourism department in the district even organise spice plantation tours for the tourists.
Rahul Gandhi was elected as the MP of Wayanad in the recent Lok Sabha polls held in 2019.