The Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd has said that the recent judgment by the Madras High Court on the import of arecanut, is likely to exacerbate the challenges faced by Indian arecanut farmers.

In a letter to Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Campco President A Kishore Kumar Kodgi said that arecanut importers had sought Madras High Court’s intervention to ease the conditions imposed by the Customs Department on import of arecanuts from Sri Lanka.

Grappling with several issues

“According to the judgement, Customs authorities should not insist on a bank guarantee for arecanuts imported from Sri Lanka and should only require a certificate of origin for the same. Due to this judgment, there is concern that arecanut importers might exploit the relaxed conditions, leading to an influx of arecanuts from Sri Lanka, thereby adversely affecting the domestic market,” he said, adding, the relaxation in import conditions is impacting the Indian arecanut market, which is already grappling with several challenges.

Stating that this judgment is likely to exacerbate the challenges faced by Indian arecanut farmers, he said, “Therefore in the interest of justice for Indian arecanut farmers, we earnestly request you to take necessary action on this issue and provide the necessary support to safeguard the farmers’ interests.”

In a case related to the import of arecanut, the Madras High Court had recently issued an order requiring the certificate of origin for arecanuts to be verified within a 30-day period. “If the verification is not completed within the above mentioned period of 30 days, the petitioner would be entitled to a provisional release of the goods on providing a bond for 100 per cent of the value of goods but without insisting on a bank guarantee,” it said.

“If the certificate is found to be genuine upon such verification, the goods shall be released without insisting on payment of duty. On the other hand, if the certificate is found to not be genuine, it is open to the respondents to take further action in accordance with law,” the order said.