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Good news for areca farmers: Minimum import price of areca nuts raised

Mangalore Today News Network

Areca farm in MangaloreMangaluru, June 3, 2015: Union Governments decision to raise the Minimum Import Price (MIP) on import of Areca nuts will further boost the areca nut market in India and areca farmers from Coastal Karnataka may gain already bullish areca market.

The government has been decided to increase the Minimum Import Price on import of Areca nuts from existing Rs. 110 per kg. to Rs.162 per kg. with immediate effect to safeguard the interest of domestic farmers.

The Government has received representations from various stakeholders of Areca nuts industry against unabated import of Areca nuts from neighbouring countries taking advantage of low import duty provided under South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA).

About a year ago, India had raised the tariff to Rs 110 per kg from Rs 75 to help local growers by increasing the cost of imports.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also advised its Field offices to stringently adhere to the quality specifications of Areca nut before clearing the import consignments. This has been done with a view to prevent inferior quality Areca nut from entering Indian market and de-stabilise the domestic prices.

The Customs Authorities have been advised to check the rules of origin with utmost care so as to ensure that Areca nut grown in other countries is not imported through our neighbouring countries taking advantage of low import duty under SAFTA.  Karnataka is the largest producer of areca nut, followed by Kerala and Assam.

Fresh arrivals of the white variety are being sold at Rs 150 to 160 per kg, which is not remunerative for the farmers. The cost of cultivation for a farmer has reached Rs 170 per kg.

As per estimates, the production has been stagnant at around 6.2-6.3 lakh tonnes per year. According to a report,  the value of areca nut imported into India increased by 120% in 2012-13. The country imported Rs 612.78 crore worth areca nut in 2012-13 as against areca nut worth Rs 278.13 crore in 2011-12.