The bullish trend in white arecanut has continued this year.

The commodity could have gained from lower arrivals, going by data from APMCs (agriculture produce marketing committees).

An analysis of Puttur, Mangalore, Sullia and Bantwal APMCs till December 14 indicates that arrivals were lower in these markets. (Puttur, Bantwal, Sullia and Mangalore markets contribute a major share to total arrivals.)

Interestingly, there was a rapid increase in the arrivals of ‘koka’ stocks of white arecanut in some markets. (Koka stocks are either defective in colour or broken ones.

Though pure processed arecanut is devoid of any outer fibrous layer of the fruit, some koka stocks contain them.)

OLD STOCKS

The arrival of old stocks of white arecanut in Puttur and Sullia APMCs was low compared with 2011, and it was marginally up at Bantwal.

However, there was a good jump in Mangalore APMC (See Table). Except Sullia, the arrival of ‘koka’ was more in other APMCs.

Some farmers whom Business Line spoke to wondered how there could be such a big increase in the arrivals of ‘koka’. They said that ‘koka’ stocks contribute 10-15 per cent of the total arecanut stocks of a farmer.

This stock commands a lower price compared with old stocks and new stocks.

Subrahmanya Bhat, a farmer from Bantwal taluk, suspected that there could be some undervaluation by traders to avoid tax and cess on the commodity. The maximum price for the old stocks during the year was almost Rs 50 a kg more than in 2011. The price of old stocks touched a record high of Rs 250 in September.

However, it was trading in the range of Rs 190 a kg on December 14.

NEW STOCKS

The price of old stocks had crossed the Rs 100-mark in 2010.

Though arrivals of new stocks dropped sharply in Puttur APMC, they went up in Mangalore APMC.

On decline in arrivals, M. Srinivasa Achar, President of All-India Areca Growers’ Association, said that some farmers, who have the ability to hold the stocks, are not releasing them to the market. (Old stocks of white arecanut command good price in the market).

The decline in arrivals in regions such as Sullia is mainly because of the yellow-leaf disease in that place. This has made some farmers there to shy away from arecanut cultivation, he said.

The new stocks breached Rs 200/kg mark this year. It was trading in the range of Rs 130-135 on December 14.

vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 17, 2012)
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