Agri Business

Campco seeks Karnataka govt’s help to exclude arecanut, pepper from RCEP

A J Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on October 22, 2019

Given the chronology of price range of these commodities, whenever the imported arecanut and pepper flood the domestic markets the prices crash. File photo   -  HS MANJUNATH

Says India is self-sufficient in the production of arecanut and pepper

The Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd has asked the Karnataka government to recommend that the Central government exclude arecanut and pepper from the scope of the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

In a letter to BS Yediyurappa, Karnataka Chief Minister, Campco said that the rationale for recommending its request to the Central Government would be to protect the interests of domestic farmers as India is self-sufficient in the production of arecanut and pepper.

Fearing the inclusion of arecanut and pepper in the list of other plantation commodities under the RCEP, SR Satishchandra, president of Campco, said in the letter that farmers, who are already facing challenging times on account of low prices vis-à-vis high cost of production, will be facing serious implications.

India produces more than 50 per cent of world production of arecanut. In India, Karnataka is the largest state producing arecanut with a production of 6.06 lakh tonnes in 19 districts. He said a majority of arecanut farmers have pepper as an intercrop in their plantations.

Whenever the imported arecanut and pepper flood the domestic markets the prices crash. Following this, the domestic farmers suffer a lot, so much so, that the price sometimes comes below the cost of production, he said.

“Hence it is our endeavour that arecanut and pepper be excluded from the final offer, and your goodselves may recommend to the Government of India for exclusion of arecanut and pepper,” he said in the letter.

Referring to the India’s schedule of Tariff Commitments under FTA with ASEAN in 2010, the Campco president said pepper was placed as a special product in the highly sensitive list and arecanut in the exclusion list in order to protect the interest of domestic farmers.

He also said the Director General of Foreign Trade has fixed the minimum import price for arecanut at Rs 251 a kg and pepper at Rs 500 a kg.

Published on October 22, 2019

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