Agri Business

Campco rejects MP’s reported objection to arecanut

Our Bureau | | | Updated on: Nov 09, 2021
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Terms Jharkhand parliamentarian’s claims on arecanut’s health impact as unfounded

The Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd has strongly criticised the reported statement of Nishikant Dubey, BJP Member of Parliament from Godda in Jharkhand, on arecanut.

A section of the media had quoted a recent letter from Dubey in which he had reportedly asked the Prime Minister to prohibit the human consumption of betel nut (arecanut) since it “caused diseases like cancer”.

A Kishore Kumar Kodgi, President of Campco, termed the MP’s claims as shocking and made without any scientific evidence. “His statement is not only misleading but also hurts the sentiments of arecanut farmers,” he said.

Time and again it has been proved that arecanut alone is not carcinogenic. Recent research by competent institutes, domestic as well as international, have shown positive results, he said.

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Quoting a 1974 research from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Kodgi said scientists had reported that arecanut cures cancer. This had been substantiated by scientists at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, US. In China, more than 30 medicines are prepared using arecanut, he stated.

Call for more studies

He said Campco had already initiated research studies on arecanut through reputed international institutes. He said arecanut is classified as ‘food’ within Section 2 (v) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.

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The Campco president said arecanut has several medicinal properties for humans and livestock. Enjoying a significant place in religious, social and cultural spheres, arecanut’s use in ayurvedic medicine dates back to the ancient Sanskrit text ‘Charaka Samhita’, he said.

Kodgi urged the Prime Minister to direct officials concerned to conduct a thorough scientific study on the health benefits of arecanut. This would sustain the morale of farmers, he said.

‘Harmful additives’

P Chowdappa, chairperson of the technical committee of the arecanut taskforce constituted by the Karnataka government and former director of the Kasaragod-based Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), recently told BusinessLine that there was no evidence to show arecanut was carcinogenic.

“What we (arecanut taskforce) are demanding now is that, rather than unnecessarily blaming arecanut as carcinogenic, let researches be done at different institutes in the country. Let them prove it with studies,” he had stated.

Chowdappa — who has edited a book titled Arecanut — said almost 60 million people are dependent on arecanut for their livelihood. People have been using it in villages for centuries. When ‘gutkha’ and ‘paan masala’ entered the market, manufacturers began adding many additives, including tobacco, and these had a negative impact on human health, he said.

Published on November 09, 2021

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