After the sharp fall in price of the farmers’ produces such as the ginger and banana, the declining price of tender arecanut put the farming community in the district in a fix.
The spot price of tender arecanut in the regional market on Saturday was Rs.38 a kg as against Rs.47 during the corresponding period last year.
Thankachan,a small scale farmer at Athichal said the middlemen were exploiting the farmers as the price of white arecanut had been increased many fold this year but, the price of tender arecanut showing a downward trend in the market.
The average price of the white arecanut was Rs.180 a kg in the regional markets in Kasaragode and Kannur districts as against Rs.70 during the corresponding period last year, he said. Though a small difference in price between the produces in the market was usual, a huge disparity never happened so far, he added. More over, the production cost including labour charge and price of fertilizers had increased many fold, he said.
K. K.Vasudevan, State secretary, Kerala Vyapara Vyavasayi Ekopana Samiti told The Hindu that the tender arecanut was the raw material for making red arecanut, the major ingredient of panmasalas .
The recent rumours on the Central government’s move for implementing a ban on panmasala items in the country was the major reason for the sudden decline of price of the tender arecanut. The traders in the district had been mainly procured it for the small scale red arecanut processing centres functioning in Chamaraj Nagar, Sireah, Thumkur and Pavhada in Karnataka and many of the processing units were closed owing to the anticipating ban, he added.
Whereas, the demand had increased considerably for the white arecanut from the neighbouring countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan after a recent forecast on the low production of arecanut in the country during the current fiscal, owing to various afflictions affected the crop , spiraling up the price of the produce, he added.
The farmers in the district prefer to harvest the arecanut in its tender stage as the quality of the ripened arecanut in the district was poor owing to geographical reasons.
Arecanut production in the district also fell enormously due to various afflictions affected the crop, the farming source said. The production has dipped to nearly 50 percent this year, they added. The Agriculture Department data reveals that 12,730 hectares of land has been used for arecanut cultivation in the district and nearly 60 percent of the of the cultivated areas had been affected by yellow leaf disease, another threat to the arecanut farmers.