Karnataka seeks restoration of customs duty at 110% on imported arecanut

An arecanut plantation in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka.

An arecanut plantation in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. | Photo Credit: Raviprasad Kamila

A delegation of arecanut growers, led by Karnataka Home Minister Aaraga Jnanendra, will meet Union Ministers, including Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in Delhi on Thursday, seeking restoration of curbs on the import of arecanut from neighbouring countries.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Mr. Jnanendra, Arecanut Task Force Chairman, said the delegation would urge the Centre to restore the import customs duty on arecanut at 110% to safeguard the interests of growers of Karnataka. The crop is largely grown in Malnad and coastal districts of the State.

The delegation said that some importers had found loopholes in the Central government notification issued in February 2022 and imported the commodity at ₹271 a kg without paying the import duty of 110%. Mr. Jnanendra urged the Centre to restore the customs duty at 110% on import of all varieties of arecanut.

Jump in import

Prior to the notification, the import of arecanut was 2,500 tonnes a month and now it jumped to 8,000 tonnes a month. The cost of one kg of arecanut had increased to 360 a kg, while the imported arecanut cost only ₹271 a kg, the delegation said in a memorandum.

Besides Ms. Sitharaman, the delegation is scheduled to meet Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Thomar, and Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje to discuss various issues pertaining to arecanut growers.

Arecanut provides employment, both direct and indirect, to about six crore families. In Karnataka alone, 50 lakh people depend on the crop. Arecanut is a perennial crop and farmers cannot shift to other crops. If prices come down below ₹50,000 a quintal, then the cultivation of the crop becomes economically unviable and growers would face financial hardships, the memorandum said.

BJP MLA Haratal Halappa, former MLA D.N. Jeevaraj, Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Ltd. president Kishor Kumar Kodgi, and other senior officials of CAMPCO were the part of this delegation.

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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 1:23:27 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/arecanut-growers-from-karnataka-in-delhi-to-seek-curbs-in-import-cut-in-gst/article65778409.ece