Mangaluru, June 29, 2016: Union Minister for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday assured a delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Karnataka of the Ministry working out measures to control import of arecanut so as to alleviate the grievances of arecanut growers in the country, particularly Karnataka.
She also told the delegation that the Ministry would see if arecanut imports could completely be banned without violating any international treaties or agreement. Nevertheless, the Ministry would plug import of arecanut from countries that are not arecanut-growing nations.
The delegation was led by State BJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa and comprised Union Ministers H.N. Ananth Kumar, G.M. Siddeshwar, former Minister Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, Sringeri MLA D.N. Jeevaraj and others. It met Ms. Sitharaman at New Delhi.
Mr. Jeevaraj told The Hindu that Mr. Yeddyurappa demanded a complete ban on arecanut imports. Arecanut production, which was about 4 lakh tonnes a year a few years ago, has now touched 8 lakh tonnes. Hence, there is no need for import of arecanut, he [Mr. Yeddyurappa] told the Minister. Besides, arecanut is being imported from countries where the produce is not at all grown, Mr. Jeevaraj quoted Mr. Yeddyurappa as saying.
If the government cannot stop arecanut imports in the interest of growers, it should at least provide subsidy to them. In the prevailing circumstances, fine quality of red arecanut should fetch at least Rs. 40,000 a quintal and the government should make good any loss in the price, the delegation demanded, Mr. Jeevaraj said.
Ms. Sitharaman said that despite levying 162 per cent import duty on arecanut, traders meddle with the base price of the produce and bring in arecanut through the import route. Hence, there is a need to check such imports and if possible, completely stop them, she said, according to Mr. Jeevaraj.
Courtesy: The Hindu