Base price increased from Rs. 35 a kg to Rs. 75

The Union government has increased the base price for importing arecanut from Rs. 35 a kg to Rs. 75.

The decision has cheered areca growers as they expect this will curb the import of cheap, low quality arecanut. It could bolster the sale and prices of areca in the domestic market as import prices will go up considerably when import duty is added to it.

The Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued a notification (No. 10 (RE-2012) 2009-2014) to this effect on August 14.

“The minimum price for import is enhanced from the existing Rs. 35 to Rs. 75 a kg,” the notification issued by the DGFT Anup K. Pujari said. The notification applied to the import of “whole, split…arecanut.”Konkodi Padmanabha, president of the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (CAMPCO) Ltd., told The Hindu that with this, importing arecanut would be costlier. He said that importers would have to pay an import duty of 108 per cent of the base price. Hence, imported arecanut would cost more than Rs. 150 a kg.

Mr. Padmanabha said that it was expected to discourage imports further and boost prices of domestic arecanut.

He claimed that arecanut of inferior quality was being imported mainly from Indonesia and Thailand, and was keeping down the price of quality domestic arecanut.

Sridhar G. Bhide, former president and current director of Mangalore Agriculturists’ Sahakari Sangha (MASS), said domestic arecanut, especially the one grown in Karnataka, was of good quality. The notification was expected to help domestic farmers by creating more demand for their produce.

Ramesh Kaintaje, a farmer who was a member of the G.V. Joshi committee, which revised the production cost of arecanut for the government in 2010, said that the new notification was expected to increase the base price (minimum price) of arecanut in the domestic market.

He said that the base price for new arrivals white arecanut (chali) might go up to between Rs. 140 and Rs.150 a kg.

Between March 15, 2011 and August 15, 2012, the price of new arrivals hovered between Rs. 75 a kg (base price) and Rs. 190 a kg (maximum).

Mr. Kaintaje said that the base price of old stock might touch the Rs. 190-Rs. 200 a kg range. Its price hovered between Rs. 90 a kg and Rs. 246 a kg in the past year.