Cost of white areca nut is Rs. 168, and red areca nut Rs. 197

An expert committee constituted by the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd. (Campco) has decided that the production cost of white areca nut (chali) and red areca nut now stands at Rs. 168 and Rs. 197 per kilogram, respectively.

The committee was headed by G.V. Joshi, a former professor of economics at Mangalore University, and a former member of Karnataka State Planning Board.

The committee, comprising T.N. Prakash Kammaradi, Head, Department of Agriculture Economics, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, decided the production cost based on the input cost of 2012-13.

Earlier in September, 2010, the same committee decided the production of white areca nut and red areca nut at Rs. 114 and Rs. 148 per kg, respectively, based on the input cost of 2009-10.

Campco constituted the G.V. Joshi committee three years ago after the State government asked the cooperative to revise the production cost of areca nut on behalf of the government, and submitted its report to the government. In the latest development, Campco took the lead in revising the production cost on demand by its grower members. The growers pressed for it at the annual general meeting of Campco here last year saying that because of inflation, the input cost had gone up. Konkodi Padmanabha, president, Campco, said the latest revised report would be submitted to the government.

Mr. Joshi told The Hindu that in the last three years the general labour cost (daily wage of labourers) per day had gone up from Rs. 150 to Rs. 275 and the daily wage of skilled labourers shot up from Rs. 400 to Rs. 750 a day.

If the cost of organic manure (hatti gobbara) per plant doubled from Rs. 20, the cost of chemical fertilizers per plant went up from Rs. 8 to Rs. 25.

The price of copper sulphate, widely used for controlling the fruit rot disease (kole roga), had gone up from Rs. 100 per kg to Rs. 180.

A.S. Bhat, former managing director, Campco, said that the importance of the production cost mattered while the government worked out welfare schemes, compensation and minimum support price for growers under the market intervention scheme.

The last time the government purchased areca nut from farmers under the market intervention scheme, through Campco, was in 2009-10 by fixing the base rate (fixed by Union government) at Rs. 69 per kg for white areca nut and Rs. 89 for red areca nut.

As the State government added its contribution of Rs. 6 a kg, the farmers got Rs. 75 per kg and Rs. 95 per kg, respectively. The government intervened whenever the price of produce fell below the production cost.

The committee also comprised farmers Padar Ramarkrishna Shastri, Ramesh Kaintaje, A.P. Nagesh Rao Agali and chartered accountant R.D. Shastri and Mr. Bhat.

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