Prices of white arecanut (chali) have increased in Dakshina Kannada. This has come as a surprise to growers because prices remain low during the arrival season.

Prices of old stocks (chol) and new stocks of white arecanut hovered between Rs. 115 and Rs. 117 a kg and between Rs. 106 and Rs. 108 a kg, respectively, on Wednesday.

A.S. Bhat, Managing Director of Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Limited (CAMPCO), attributed the increase in prices of arecanut to demand and supply dynamics. Prices had increased owing to poor production. “It is a cycle. Prices of agriculture commodities keep moving forward and backward,'' he added.

Patte Venugopal of Kavu near Puttur, a major arecanut grower, attributed this to three reasons. As prices remained low in the past three years and the input cost increased, growers did not try to increase productivity. Added to it, “kole roga” (fruit rot disease) during last monsoon resulted in crop loss. As a result, overall production came down in 2010-11. It had hit the arrival of new stocks (harvested after November 2010), he said.

In addition, growers could not harvest quality arecanut because of rain in March 2010.

For the fear of losing quality, many growers sold arecanut soon after harvest. Hence, there was a shortage in the arrival of old stocks to the market now, he said.

Trend

Mr. Venugopal said that many growers hoped that the upward trend in areca prices would continue this year.

Ramesh Kaintaje, a member of the committee which recommended revised production cost of arecanut to the State government recently, said that the upward trend was likely to continue till June.

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