The price of the old stocks of white arecanut touched an all-time high of ₹500 a kg on Wednesday, recording a jump of more than 80 per cent in the post-lockdown market.
The Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) offered a maximum of ₹500 a kg for the old stocks of white arecanut and ₹415 a kg for the new stocks, to its grower-members in key markets on Wednesday.
Campco had taken initiative to buy arecanut from growers during the lockdown when there were absolutely no buyers for it in the consuming market. The cooperative started buying white arecanut on April 13 before the end of the phase I of the lockdown, by fixing a base price of ₹250 a kg for new stocks and ₹275 a kg for old stocks.
In the post-lockdown market since April 13, the prices have seen a growth of 82 per cent for old stocks and 66 per cent for new stocks of white arecanut.
Campco officials said the cooperative took the decision to buy the produce during the lockdown to instil confidence among growers, though there was no market for it at the consumer end then. This move encouraged other arecanut cooperatives to start buying from the growers.
Terming this price as an all-time high record, Mahesh Puchhappady, General Secretary of the All India Areca Growers’ Association, told BusinessLine that a drastic decline in the import of arecanut during the lockdown and the subsequent demand for the arecanut in the consuming markets in North India led to the increase in price of the commodity.
Now, too, there is a strict vigil at the main entry point of imported arecanut in West Bengal. The internal issues in Myanmar have also made an impact on arecanut export to India, he said.
Word of caution
However, Puchhappady asked the growers to be utmost cautious at this juncture. Stating that white arecanut has not seen such a price till now, he said it may lead to panic among growers when the prices start coming down.
He said even the new stocks of white arecanut have reached ₹415 a kg now. In such a situation, some people may try to encash the market situation by selling new stocks, too. Such people may not give much importance to processing arecanut (mainly involves its being sun-dried for certain days), leading to the deterioration of the produce’s quality, and a subsequent fall in price, he said.