Mangalore, Aug 31, 2014: Speaking to mediapersons on August 30, Chairperson of the KAPC - Karnataka Agriculture Price Commission Prakash Kammaradi said that in the wake of fluctuations in arecanut prices in the recent times, there was a need to stabilise the price. The reasons for the fluctuation in arecanut price need to be studied.
There was no information on the demand and supply of arecanut. It is unfortunate that majority of trading of arecanut takes place outside the purview of the APMC, Campco and Mamcos. The Commission will recommend to the government to commence online and etrading of arecanut to avoid middlemen in APMCs.
He said unauthorised traders purchase the produce from farmers. Such traders are into unfair trade practices resulting in loss to farmers, loss of revenue for the government as traders do not pay market cess and value added tax to the government. A committee headed by Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim will hold a meeting of stakeholders to strengthen APMC in the district.
Dedicated Board needed : Kammaradi stressed the need to establish a separate board for arecanut on the model of the Coffee Board and Rubber Board. The establishment of a separate Board will boost study and research on arecanut and also will provide a direct link with the government.
Priority cultivation : Earlier, speaking at the meeting of the farmers, he said that the Commission will give priority to increase the production of ragi, jowar and rain fed paddy cultivation. The Commission will also recommend to the government as why not take an initiative to include ragi, jowar under MGNREGS to solve the problem of shortage of labourers. The Kerala model of package for paddy will be studied by the Commission. The cost of production of all agriculture produce needs to be assessed every year in association with the farmers. The research director of agriculture and horticulture university, horticulture department, Campco and Mamcos will convene a meeting and calculate the cost of production within two months, he added.
Horticulture Department Deputy Director Yogesh H R said that as per the records, the area under arecanut is 32,582 hectare and the production is 33,155 metric tonnes. However, in reality, the area under arecanut cultivation may be 45,000 hectare and the production would have reached 50,000 metric tonnes, to which, the Deputy Commissioner said that field level assessment of actual cultivation of arecanut is need of the hour.
Campco President Konkody Padmanabha questioned the need for Arecanut Board. There is a need to bring all the arecanut transaction in the purview of tax system and strengthen coordination between APMC, agriculture and horticulture departments.
Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Tulasi Maddineni said that there is no broad planning of agriculture sector in the state. Majority of the growers have not been benefited from the recent rise in price of arecanut. Marketing of the produce is a challenge. At the same time, the production cost should be announced one month before the harvest. She also called upon the growers not to depend on arecanut alone.
Prabhakar Mayya, a farmer from Belthangady said majority of the farmers get cheated as they are not aware of the market rate for arecanut. A system to inform farmers on the price on a daily basis should be available. The onus on streamlining the areca matter lies with Govt authority.
Save agri, serve agri, encourage youth - Drive : Economist and professor at Vivekananda College, Puttur, Vigneshwara Varmudi has said that to attract youth to agriculture, the Vivekananda college will start a drive ‘Save agriculture, serve agriculture and encourage youth.’ The drive will be launched on September 18. There is a deep need to attract the interests of youth in agriculture.