Karnataka

Yield decline pushes up arecanut prices by 7% in 10 days

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The price of the Rashi Idi variety of arecanut hit ₹36,600 on January 11

The decline in arecanut yield owing to consecutive droughts and fruit rot disease caused by heavy rain has triggered an escalation in price of the produce.

Following assurance from the Centre that India would not become a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership pact between members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and six other nations, arecanut price had stabilised. In December 2019, the Rashi Idi variety was traded at around ₹34,200 a quintal in the Shivamogga market and there were no fluctuations during the month.

However, the prices started to move northwards from January 2, bringing cheer to farmers. The price of the Rashi Idi variety of arecanut hit ₹36,600 on January 11. There has been a similar rise in the prices of Saraku, Bette and Gorabalu varieties.

D.M. Shankarappa, an arecanut merchant and former president of Shivamogga District Chamber of Commerce and Industries, told The Hindu that in the past 10 days, the prices have increased by around 7%. He attributed it to the mismatch between demand and supply.

Hit by drought

The yield had declined in semi-arid and arid regions in Karnataka owing to the moisture stress caused by drought that prevailed for three consecutive summers from 2017. Arecanut cultivated on more than 7,000 hectares completely dried up owing to scarcity of water in Davangere district in 2019.

Crop loss was reported in plantations in Malnad region owing to fruit rot disease, or kole roga, caused by heavy rain in August and September 2019. In Shivamogga district alone, arecanut crop on more than 13,000 hectares was infected with kole roga during this period.

Rajesh, an arecanut grower and merchant from Channagiri in Davangere district, said the crop is sensitive to changes in climate. He said that the harvest has almost completed in the major arecanut-growing districts of Shivamogga, Uttara Kannada, Davangere and Chikkamagaluru, and farmers had disposed of the major chunk of their inventories. The demand-supply gap is likely to widen in the coming days and that may cause further price rise, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:26:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/yield-decline-pushes-up-arecanut-prices-by-7-in-10-days/article30550568.ece

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