Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on August 18 assured to a delegation of arecanut growers from Karnataka to look into their demand for increasing the minimum import price or minimum tariff value for arecanut to ₹360 a kg from ₹251 a kg.
The delegation was led by Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, who is also chairman of Karnataka Task Force on Arecanut. The president of the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd (CAMPCO) A. Kishore Kumar Kodgi was also part of the delegation.
According to CAMPCO, the delegation urged the Union Minister to fix the minimum trariff value of ₹360 a kg to white arecanut, or chali variety, and ₹420 a kg for red variety to maintain stability in the domestic market.
The delegation which also called on Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar apprised him that there is a need for issuing a revised notification re-fixing the maximum standard moisture level for arecanut from 7% to 11% for helping in marketing of the arecanut, especially during the monsoon and marketing the ‘hosa adike’ (new stock).
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will have to re-fix the standard.
Meanwhile, a report in the book ‘Arecanut Research and Development’, published by the CPCRI in 1985, said that generally when ripe arecanut is dried under good sunlight for 35-40 days to get white chali variety and when tender arecanut is dried for 10-12 days to get red batlu variety, the moisture level varied between 5.5% and 13.4% depending on the size of the nuts and other climatic conditions.
The delegation said that as the moisture content in arecanut was beyond 7%, some of the stakeholders found it difficult in marketing their consignments.
The team also met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and urged her to reduce the GST on arecanut, and reduce the import duty on carbon fiber poles used for harvesting the crop.