Mangaluru

Unseasonal rain hits arecanut processing

Unseasonal rain in the coastal belt in the last week has hit processing of arecanut harvested by farmers. Arecanut growers are now sun drying the arecanut harvested since over a month.

Drenching of arecanut spread over in the yards will affect the quality of produce, said Ramesh Kaintaje, an agriculturist from near Mani.

Farmers sun dry arecanut harvested for between 48 days and 60 days. If a majority of farmers have now completed the first harvest, a few farmers have even completed the second harvest and are sun drying it. The produce in the yards has become wet in the sudden and unexpected rainfall. This is the peak season of arecanut processing where it is left drying in the sun. Rainfall has hit 50 % of the harvested produce of some farmers, he said.

Mahesh Puchchappady, general secretary, All India Areca Growers Association, Puttur, said that the production of arecanut has come down in the 2020-21 season due to low yield which is because of various weather associated factors. The rain now is posing a threat to the quality of whatever produce farmers have harvested and are sun drying.

Mr. Kaintaje said that since flowering also begins in arecanut palms now continuous rain will result in button shedding. Inflorescence emerges in increasing trend from October to February and gradually, it declines from March onwards. Heavy rain during this period is not good.

On the other hand, prices of chali (white arecanut) variety has reached an all-time high now. The old stocks now command ₹ 410 per kg and new stocks fetched ₹ 355 a kg.

Sources in the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd. (CAMPCO) attributed the hike in prices to shortage in production and negligible imports since the lockdown last year. Since imports are minimal, the consumer market in North India is entirely dependent on domestic supply which is not up to the tune of the demand.

Kole roga (fruit rot disease) which hit arecanut plantations on a vast scale in the 2018 and 2019 rainy season resulted in crop loss thus creating scarcity now in the supply of old stocks.

Mr. Puchchappady said that except large growers, small and marginal growers do not have stocks with them. Hence, a majority of farmers have been deprived of getting high prices for the old stocks.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 10:55:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/unseasonal-rain-hits-arecanut-processing/article33543772.ece

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