Agri Business

Alternative uses of arecanut yet to catch up

A. J. Vinayak Mangalore | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on June 16, 2013


People identify arecanut with paan beeda, paan masala and gutkha. Though there are other alternative uses of arecanut, they are yet to gain acceptance commercially.

Now with many States resorting to gutkha ban, there is a need to think about the alternative uses of arecanut.

(White arecanut variety is used in paan beeda preparation, and red arecanut in the manufacture of gutkha.)

A few years ago, P. Shankar Bhat, a farmer from Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada district, came out with a formula on preparing wine out of arecanut. Though he got media attention then, it was not launched for commercial use. He also came out with an arecanut-based soft drink product.

When Business Line spoke to Bhat, he said that people were averse to take risk on producing and marketing a new product. Now after the ban on gutkha in many States, he is getting queries from farmers on these products.

Bhat’s latest product is an arecanut-based soap. Marketed under the brand name ‘Pooga Singar’, the soap uses extract from areca. One unit of soap contains extract of one arecanut, he says.

Even the sweet supari has good market, according to Ravish Hegde, Managing Director of Totagars’ Cooperative Sale (TSS) Society at Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district.

The society, which is actively involved in arecanut trade, has been marketing sweet supari under its own brand in various States for the past several years.

Hegde says that sweet supari consumption is increasing in places where there are gutkha ban. The sweet supari division of the society made a turnover of around Rs 25 crore last year.

Manchi Srinivasa Achar, President of All-India Areca Growers’ Association, says that the cooperatives should have the risk-taking ability to launch more products based on areca to boost its consumption. They will have to keep a margin of their profit for this purpose.

Bhat suggests that the Government set up a fund to finance the research and development activities of value-added arecanut products.

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Published on June 16, 2013
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