The Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Limited (CAMPCO) has asked the Centre to stop the import of arecanut from countries under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) with zero customs duty.

Campco President Konkody Padmanabha told presspersons here on Saturday that arecanut worth Rs. 500 crore had been imported from the six countries that are signatories to SAPTA in the last nine months. Of this, 63 per cent was from Bangaladesh, which includes arecanut sent to it from Malaysia. Importing arecanut, which was basically in powdered form, from Malaysia through Bangladesh was causing a loss of Rs. 500 crore to the exchequer. Bangladesh grew very negligible quantity of arecanut, he said.

Mr. Padmanabha said drastic increase in imports was hurting arecanut growers. “We are self sufficient in arecanut production. There is no need to import arecanut at the cost of the well being of our growers,” Mr. Padmanabha said.

The Centre should increase the minimum price for the import of arecanut from Rs. 40 a kg to Rs. 115 a kg. The customs duty for the import of arecanut should be at 150 per cent, he said.

The government should stop importing arecanut from Bangladesh, he said. Mr. Padmanabha reiterated the demand to keep cooperatives out of the purview of the Direct Tax Code. The proposed move to impose income tax would be death knell for cooperative societies, which were the backbone of rural India.

Outlet at Janata Bazaar

Toffees and other chocolates of Campco will be seen at its new outlet to come up in Janata Bazaar on the GHS Road. CAMPCO’s Managing Director M. Suresh Bhandary told The Hindu that the new outlet would be operated by Janata Bazaar. The outlet would be adjacent to the KMF milk parlour on the Janata Bazaar premises. All products of Campco would be sold at the new outlet. Mr. Bhandary said the Campco was trying to market its products through various milk cooperatives in the country.

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