Decision to import areca nut from Bhutan: Farmers, traders fear price collapse

08:31 AM Oct 01, 2022 | Team Udayavani |

Puttur: The union government’s decision to import 17,000 tonnes of raw areca nut every year from Bhutan to India, without minimum import price restrictions, has created panic in the areca nut market.


The central government’s decision comes at a time when growers were rejoicing the record high prices for the crop. On Friday, the price per kg of new areca nut in the Mangaluru market fell to Rs 482 whereas old areca nut commanded Rs 565.  At Campco, the new areca nut was being traded at Rs 475 and the old areca nut at Rs 565 per kg.

Earlier, the minimum import price for arecanut was fixed at Rs 251 to check price fluctuations due to imported goods on the domestic markets. However, government has decided to waive this rule for hte imports of areca nnut from Bhutan. This has raised fears of a sharp fall in prices among traders as well as growers.

The fears are not without basis. When government had approved hte import of areca nut under the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), domestic areca nut prices in the local markets had plummeted. The farmers are worried that such a situation might repeat again.

However, some experts say the fears are an exaggeration. Areca nut plantation began fairly recently in Bhutan and yields are not very high. Moreover, Bhutan being a landlocked country, goods have to be transported via roads. This increases transportation costs. As the quantity reaching the Indian markets is not significant, it will not have a huge impact on prices, they said.


Meanwhile, President of CAMPCO Kishore Kumar Kodgi said that the apprehensions of the areca nut farmers will be brought to the notice of the Indian government.


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