Agri Business

Ban on plastic gutkha sachets hits arecanut growers

Our Bureau Mangalore | Updated on February 24, 2011 Published on February 24, 2011

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The ban on marketing gutkha in plastic sachets by the Central Government has affected the prospects of red arecanut in major markets in Karnataka, causing concern among arecanut cooperatives and farmers' representatives.

Addressing presspersons here on Thursday, Mr K. Padmanabha, President of the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd, said arecanut buying in Shimoga, Sirsi, Davangere and Tumkur markets has come to a standstill, as gutkha manufacturers have stopped buying arecanut. (These markets supply a major quantity of red arecanut to the manufacturers. Red arecanut and tobacco are the main ingredients of gutkha.)

The price of red arecanut has come down by around Rs 30 a kg after the ban, he said.

Asked about the likely quantity of red arecanut lying with arecanut cooperatives, he said nearly 1.6 lakh quintals of red arecanut are yet to be lifted by buyers from the Campco. He did not know about other cooperatives, he said.

On February 4, the Central Government had notified the rules to ban marketing tobacco products in plastic pouches. This followed a directive by the Supreme Court to the Government banning marketing tobacco products in plastic pouches by March 1 this year.

Stating that nearly 80 per cent of red arecanut produced is used to manufacture gutkha, he said the growers will be affected if manufacturers don't buy the produce.

Farmers in Chitradurga and Davangere are planning to hold agitations against the ban, he said.

Mr Padmanabha suggested that the Central Government should have delayed the notification by at least a year. This would have given gutkha manufactures enough time to come out with alternative packing materials.

Mr K. Narasimha Nayak, Vice-President of Malnad Arecanut Marketing Cooperative Society, Shimoga, and Mr M. Srinivasa Achar, President of All-India Arecanut Growers' Association, were present at the meet.

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Published on February 24, 2011
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