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Creating board for arecanut is not a priority, says Union govt.

The Union government has said that creating a separate board for arecanut is not a priority for it. At the same time it has said that arecanut production in Karnataka, which contributes about 75% to the domestic production, witnessed a growth of 95% during the last five years.

In a written reply to unstarred questions by the Member of Parliament K.C. Ramamurthy in the Rajya Sabha on February 5, the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said that the total production in the State touched 8.5 lakh tonnes in 2019-20 from 4.36 lakh tonnes in 2015-16, thus posting a growth of 94.95 %.

The Minister said that the area and production of arecanut has been revised from 2018-19 onwards in Karnataka, based on the complete enumeration using GPS-enabled mobile app for estimation of area under different crops.

When the member wanted to know the constraints faced by the Ministry in constituting an Arecanut Board on the lines of Coffee Board, Rubber Board, Tea Board, and Tobacco Board the Minister replied: “There are already a number of agencies such as Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development (DASD), Central Plantation Crop Research Institute (CPCRI), Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Co-operative Ltd.(CAMPCO), which are working to promote arecanut and protect interests of arecanut farmers. Hence creation of a separate board for arecanut does not become a priority”.

The Minister said that total arecanut production in the country witnessed a growth of 55% in the last five years. It increased from 7.13 lakh tonnes in 2015-16 to 11.07 lakh tonnes in 2019-20, registering a growth of 55.25 %.

Mr. Tomar said that Karnataka, Assam, Kerala, Tripura, Meghalaya, and West Bengal are the major producers of arecanut in the country.

“India is not a leader in arecanut export in the world. Most of the arecanut produced in the country is consumed domestically and India’s share of export in global market is less than 5%,” he said.

According to the reply, Kerala and Meghalaya saw a decline in arecanut production during the period between 2015-16 and 2019-20. The production came down from 1.02 lakh tonnes in 2015-16 to 63,000 tonnes in 2019-20 in Kerala. In Meghalaya, the production dipped to 24,010 tonnes in 2019-20 as against 26,200 tonnes in 2015-16.

The Minister said that the Union government had given approval for procurement of arecanut under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) in Karnataka, during January 2017. It gave special package for crop affected by fruit-rot disease in Karnataka in 2007-08, and Yellow Leaf Disease in Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts in 2009-10.

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