KARNATAKA

Areca nut sent to Afghanistan

MANGALORE, FEB. 26. Central Areca Nut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd. (CAMPCO) on Thursday sent its first trial consignment of "chali" areca nut to Afghanistan from its warehouse at the APMC yard, Bykampady.

In all, 23 tonnes of areca nut (460 bags, each weighing 50 kg.) was sent to Nava Sheva for shipment to Kabul. The consignment valued at Rs. 20 lakh is expected to reach the consignor, Siraj Miraj Ltd., Kabul, in 15 days.

The Goa Minister for Cooperation, Forest, and Protocol, Vinay D. Tendulkar, handed over the transport documents to the Chief Marketing Officer of CAMPCO to mark the dispatch of the consignment. (CAMPCO has already received payment for the consignment.)

The President of CAMPCO, B. Nagaraj Shetty, told presspersons that the foray of the corporation into Afghanistan was a welcome development and could boost the domestic price of areca nut.

He said a Pakistani trading delegation was arriving in New Delhi next week to attend a meeting arranged by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

It would consist of representatives from its trade partner, M/s Agar International, he said and added that CAMPCO would use the occasion to further its dealings with the company for export of areca nut.

CAMPCO was participating in an exhibition of Indian products organised on the occasion, he said.

Efforts were on to increase areca nut exports to SAARC nations. The South Asian Free Trade Agreement would give a fillip to export local areca nut, deemed best of its kind in the world, he added.

Mr. Tendulkar lauded the initiative taken by CAMPCO to find external markets for areca nut.

Noting that the Goa Government had provided a minimum support price of Rs. 15 per kg. of areca nut purchased from farmers, he said the move to export the crop would have a positive bearing on the domestic rate of the crop, which he said had fallen from Rs. 100 per kg. to Rs. 45 in the past few years.