Agri Business

MPs seek ban on arecanut imports

Our Bureau Mangalore | Updated on March 22, 2013 Published on March 22, 2013




As many as 50 members of Parliament have sought measures to curb the import of arecanut into the country.

In a memorandum submitted to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar — copies of which were released to the media here — the MPs said that arecanut valued at more than Rs 500 crore has been imported from Indonesia, routed through Bangladesh.

The importers have taken advantage of duty exemptions extended to the least developed nations to import arecanut.

No import duty has been paid for the imports.

(Arecanut import from Bangladesh is exempt from customs duty as it comes under the South Asian Free Trade Area.)

Charging that inferior quality arecanut was imported, the memorandum said that such stocks have flooded the domestic market.

The MPs said that the Agriculture Ministry should appoint the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute as the nodal agency for identifying the country of origin of arecanut, and for testing its quality.

Considering the present cost of cultivation, the minimum tariff price for the import of arecanut should be fixed at Rs 125 a kg, they said, adding that steps should be initiated to ban import of arecanut for the time being.

Suresh Bhandary, Managing Director of the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd, told Business Line that Pawar has convened a meeting of the MPs to discuss these issues in New Delhi on April 2. Anand Sharma, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, will participate in that meeting, he added.

> vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 22, 2013
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