Karnataka

Arecanut prices continue to fall

Hard times:A majority of the farmers are yet to sell the produce of 2015-16.— file photo

Hard times:A majority of the farmers are yet to sell the produce of 2015-16.— file photo  

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Extension of cultivation area and import in large quantities are possible reasons for drop: experts

The fall in the prices of arecanut has continued with the rate of all varieties registering a decline of around 20 per cent in the past nine months.

The price of the rashi variety of arecanut that was traded at Rs. 300 a kg in September 2015 has come down to Rs. 240 a kg now. The prices of idi, gorabalu, saruku varieties have also witnessed a similar decline.

‘Old produce not sold’

Kadidal Gopal, president, Shivamogga Arecanut Merchants’ Association, told The Hindu that the chances of recovery of prices in the near future were less as there was a gap between the demand and supply now.

He said that a major chunk of the farmers are yet to sell the produce of 2015-16. The flow of fresh produce of 2016-17 to the market will commence from the end of September.

Mr. Gopal attributed extension in the area of cultivation of arecanut and import of the produce in large quantity as reasons for decline in the demand. It may be mentioned here that the prices of arecanut had reached Rs. 900 a kg in August 2014. The decline in the yield in 2013-14, owing to fruit rot disease, had created a scarcity of produce in the market that resulted in enhancement of demand and the price.

Anticipating a similar increase in the price, most of the farmers in Malnad region had stocked the produce of 2015-16.

No government intervention

According to sources, the farmers and traders in Shivamogga district have stocked more than 200 tonnes of arecanut in various warehouses.

Ramesh Hegde, president, Shivamogga Zilla Adike Belegarara Sangha, an organisation of arecanut growers, said that earlier, whenever there was decline in the price of arecanut, the Union government used to step-in by raising the base import price resulting in recovery in the price of locally cultivated arecanut.

However, there is no such positive intervention from the government in recent times, he said.

Call for ban on imports

Mr. Hegde said that low import duty is being charged as per trade agreements related to South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA), and imports from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries enjoy total exemption from duty.

The arecanut is being imported in large quantities under these trade agreements owing to which the demand for locally cultivated produce has come down. It is necessary to impose a total ban on the import of arecanut to protect the interests of local farmers, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 11:38:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/Arecanut-prices-continue-to-fall/article14425161.ece

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