The city-based Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd. (Campco) will have a new arecanut procurement and wet cocoa sun-drying unit at Challakere, Chitradurga district from November 29. Campco is a multi-state cooperative society of Karnataka and Kerala farmers.

M. Suresh Bhandary, managing director, Campco, told The Hindu that the cooperative’s unit at Challakere would be on a six acre land. It would have three yards for sun-drying wet cocoa beans and four warehouses for storing arecanut. Till now the cooperative was sending the beans purchased from farmers in both the states to Dharapuram, Tirupur district, Tamil Nadu for sun-drying. From next month onwards the beans procured from farmers in Karnataka, particularly from the coastal belt, would be sent to Challakere for drying.

It would save the cooperative about 25 per cent to 30 per cent of the transportation cost. Only the beans procured from Kerala farmers would be sent to Dharapuram which had six drying yards on a 10 acre land.

Mr. Bhandary said that Dharapuram was at more than 400 k.m. distance from Mangalore while the distance to Challakere was 300 k.m.

He said that as the yards in Dharapuram were not enough for drying the beans, every year the cooperative was hiring three private yards for the process. The yards at Challakere would put an end to this.

The managing director said that the cooperative procured about 10,000 tonnes of wet beans from farmers annually. The beans purchased were used in its chocolate factory at Puttur in Dakshina Kannada for manufacturing chocolates and other cocoa-based food products.

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