Tuesday March 19, 2019
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Kerala’s plantation sector headed for turmoil

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Thiruvananthapuram: Mounting costs of producing tea, rubber, cardamom and coffee and the low prices the yield fetches is severely affecting the plantation sector in Kerala, an official of the planters’ organisation said on Wednesday.

B.K. Ajith, secretary of the Association of Planters Kerala (APK) – an umbrella organization of planters of tea, rubber, cardamom and coffee – said the plantation sector can go haywire in two months.

The group represents about 60 percent of the organised plantation sector in the state.

Kerala today accounts for 82 percent of the country’s rubber production, 71 percent of cardamom, six percent of the tea and 21 percent of the coffee.

The daily wages of more than three lakh plantation workers, who ended their three week-long strike early this month, were increased recently.

But Ajith hinted at other factors which lead to an increase in the production costs.

The production costs of cardamom stands at Rs.700 a kg, while the market price of a kilogram of cardamom is Rs.620, he said.

“Coffee planters in Kerala are going to be seriously affected as production in Brazil has reached much higher levels. There has been a currency devaluation as well. Thus, all cash crops in Kerala will be seriously affected,” added Ajith.

APK officials are also peeved that their long standing demands for reducing the plantation, agricultural and land taxes have fallen on deaf ears.

While Tamil Nadu levies no taxes in the plantation sector, Kerala charges Rs.700 a hectare as plantation tax. The agriculture income tax is 50 percent of the profits, while in other states it is 28 percent. The land tax here is Rs.500 a hectare, Ajith complained.

Similarly, the electricity tariff was increased for the plantation sector last year, he said.

“If something drastic does not happen, things will come to a halt very soon,” said Ajith.

(IANS)

 

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Coffee Compounds May Inhibit Growth of Prostate Cancer

It also showed the growth reduction occurred in transplanted tumour cells, rather than in native tumour cells

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coffee
Coffee can have both positive and negative effects. We need to find out more about the mechanisms behind these findings before we can think about clinical applications. Pixabay

Besides being the perfect morning drink, coffee may also play a role in delaying prostate cancer, finds a study, which may pave the way for treating drug-resistant cancer.

Scientists from Kanazawa University in Japan have identified kahweol acetate and cafestol — hydrocarbon compounds naturally found in Arabica coffee — which may inhibit growth of prostate cancer.

The pilot study showed kahweol acetate and cafestol can inhibit growth in cells that are resistant to common anti-cancer drugs like Cabazitaxel.

“We found that kahweol acetate and cafestol inhibited growth of cancer cells in mice, but the combination seemed to work synergistically, leading to a significantly slower tumour growth than in untreated mice,” said lead author Hiroaki Iwamoto.

Coffee
The pilot study showed kahweol acetate and cafestol can inhibit growth in cells that are resistant to common anti-cancer drugs like Cabazitaxel. Pixabay

For the study, presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Barcelona, the team tested six compounds, naturally found in coffee, on proliferation of human prostate cancers cells in vitro (i.e. in a petri-dish).

They found cells treated with kahweol acetate and cafestol grew more slowly than controls. They then tested these compounds on prostate cancer cells, transplanted to mice (16 mice).

“After 11 days, the untreated tumours had grown by around three and a half times the original volume (342 per cent), whereas tumours in the mice treated with both compounds had grown by just over one and a half (167 per cent) times the original size,” Iwamoto said.

It also showed the growth reduction occurred in transplanted tumour cells, rather than in native tumour cells.

 

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Although “these are promising findings, but they should not make people change their coffee consumption,” cautioned Professor Atsushi Mizokami from the varsity.

“Coffee can have both positive and negative effects. We need to find out more about the mechanisms behind these findings before we can think about clinical applications. But if we can confirm these results, we may have candidates to treat drug-resistant prostate cancer,” Mizokami noted. (IANS)