The Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd has urged the External Affairs Ministry to restrict the movement of arecanut and pepper at Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Moreh in Manipur along the India-Myanmar border.

In a letter to the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, the President of Campco A Kishore Kumar Kodgi said the import of arecanut has affected the domestic market resulting in great distress to farmers.

The commodity, which attracts an import duty of 108 per cent on a minimum import tariff value of ₹251 a kg, is being smuggled to India from Myanmar with impunity and is entering India through Silchar in Assam and Falakanta in West Bengal from where it is sent by rail and road to the major markets such as Nagpur, Kanpur, etc., he said, adding, the imported arecanut is being sold in Indian market in the range of ₹250-260 a kg.

‘India self-sufficient’

Referring to the recent notification of the External Affairs Ministry to open border gates no. 1 and 2 for trade at ICP, Moreh (Manipur) at India-Myanmar border, he said: “Though we appreciate the initiative of the government to resume trade at the borders, it is a humble request submitted on behalf of the arecanut and pepper farmers to restrict the trade of at least arecanut and pepper commodities and permit other commodities to move through the said gates.”

He said India is self-sufficient in the production of arecanut. Indian pepper production meets the domestic requirements. In such a situation, the necessity of the import of arecanut and pepper does not arise.

“Hence, in the light of the above and in the best interest of the areca and pepper farmers of our country, we request your good offices to restrict the movement of arecanut and pepper through the gates of Manipur at the India-Myanmar border, and accordingly direct the authorities concerned to curb these commodities from entering into the domestic market,” Kodgi said in the letter.