President of the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd (Campco) Konkodi Padmanabha on Tuesday urged the Union Government to restrict import of arecanut from Nepal and Bangladesh.

He told presspersons here that according to the Union Commerce Ministry, India’s import from Nepal in value terms jumped four times to Rs. 71.52 crore in 2010-11 from a year ago. Volume wise, India imported 14,604 tonnes of arecanut from Nepal in 2010-11 compared with 5,366 tonnes in the year-ago period.

Mr. Padmanabha wondered how Nepal, which he said was a non-arecanut growing country, could export huge quantity of arecanut to India. Import details indicated that arecanut was being “pushed to India” through Nepal, he alleged.

He said that Campco’s purchase of arecanut from farmers during 2010-11 stood at 52,622 tonnes, estimated at Rs. 548 crore.

Mr. Padmanabha said that India’s import from Bangladesh jumped more than four times in value and volume during 2010-11 compared with 2009-10.

India imported 33,238 tonnes of arecanut estimated at at Rs. 116.53 crore from Bangladesh in 2010-11.

The Campco president urged the Centre to impose an import cap to help domestic farmers.

In addition to these official figures, Mr. Padmanabha alleged that arecanut was being illegally brought to India from the two countries.

He said that price of arecanut in the domestic market was moving up after the Director General of Foreign Trade increased the minimum price for import of arecanut from Rs. 35 a kg to Rs. 75 a kg on August 14. Now, imported arecanut would cost more than Rs. 160 a kg. It was inclusive of the 108 per cent import duty.

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