Agri Business

Gutkha ban may not have long term impact on market

A.J. Vinayak Mangalore | Updated on May 25, 2012


A ban on Gutkha by some States may have a temporary impact on the arecanut market. But it will help the commodity in the long run. Some arecanut growers and cooperatives feel that the ban on ‘paan masala' is a little worrisome.

Kerala became the second State after Madhya Pradesh to impose a ban on gutkha and paan masala on Friday.

Mr Ravish Hegde, Managing Director of the Sirsi-based Totagars' Cooperative Sale Society (which is actively involved in arecanut trade), told Business Line that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has classified arecanut as a food item.

According to Food Safety and Standards Act, tobacco or nicotine should not be mixed with food items. In ‘gutkha', tobacco and arecanut are the main ingredients.

He said that the volatility in the arecanut market is because of some manufacturers of ‘gutkha' who have imported inferior quality arecanut to manufacture ‘gutkha', thus affecting the domestic market.

Pure ‘paan' ban not good

Stating that pure ‘paan masala' is devoid of tobacco, he said that it should not have been banned. He said that the ban may be because some ‘gutkha' manufacturers unscrupulously add tobacco to ‘paan masala' to market their products.

Mr K. Padmanabha, President of Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd, said that the ‘gutkha' ban in Madhya Pradesh a month ago had temporary impact on red arecanut price. (Red arecanut is used in gutkha manufacture). But the demand has not come down.

Added to this, FSSAI has identified arecanut as a food item, and it cannot be banned, he said.

Mr M. Srinivasa Achar, President of All-India Areca Growers' Association, said that Governments should ensure that harmful elements such as tobacco and chemicals are not added to arecanut in any form. When arecanut import is allowed in the country, the Government should look at increasing its consumption through some value additions, he said.

Mixed cropping pattern

Mr Ramesh Kaintaje, a grower from Bantwal taluk, said arecanut farmer is at crossroads with some States on a banning spree of arecanut-related products. It is time for the grower to think about mixed cropping pattern than focusing on arecanut alone, he said.

On Friday, the Agricultural Marketing Committees of Channagiri, Davangere, and Sagar quoted a maximum price of Rs 134.69 a kg, Rs 136.50 a kg, and Rs 132.59 a kg, respectively, for red variety of arecanut.

Published on May 25, 2012

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