Prices of ‘hale adike' hover between Rs. 165 a kg. and Rs. 170 a kg.

Prices of white arecanut are moving north in Dakshina Kannada. They might surpass the prices the produce fetched more than a decade ago, according to arecanut growers and market observers here.

Prices of “hale adike” (old stocks called chol) hovered between Rs. 165 a kg. and Rs. 170 a kg. and “hosa adike” (new arrivals) between Rs. 152 a kg. and Rs. 158 a k.g. on Monday. Their prices touched Rs. 172 a kg. and Rs. 165 a kg., respectively, in 1999.

A.S. Bhat, Managing Director, Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd. (CAMPCO), told The Hindu on Monday that after the Government banned the sale of tobacco-based products in plastic sachets, many gutka users had shifted to white arecanut.

Mr. Bhat said the ban had hit production and consumption of gutka severely. This had created some demand for white arecanut also called “chali”.

“There is inflation in market. Hence, prices of many agriculture commodities are on the rise. It is a market cycle,'' he added.

Mr. Bhat said prices of pepper touched Rs. 300 a kg. in 1996.

Later, they fell to Rs. 60 a kg. Now it fetched Rs. 280 a kg. after a decade.

Patte Venugopal of Kavu near Puttur, a progressive farmer, said that many growers sold their produce when the Government procured arecanut under the market intervention scheme offering a minimum support price of Rs. 75 a kg. Hence, there were no constant arrivals in the market for lack of stocks.

Mr. Venugopal said that button-shedding was widespread in areca plantations now. If rain continued, “kole roga” (fruit rot disease) would hit many plantations, affecting production.

Supply of the produce in the market next year could also take a beating.

Sensing this in advance, traders were trying to stock the produce this year by offering higher prices, he added.

Ramesh Kainthaje, a member of the committee which revised the production cost of arecanut for the Government, said it appeared that the prices would increase further.

Mr. Kainthaje said that owing to shortage of agriculture workers and high input cost, growers were not focusing on increasing productivity. Hence, there was no increase in production. Farmers were finding it difficult to manage their plantations. Thus, area under cultivation was not expanding, he said.

Keywords: white arecanut

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