1. Agriculture World

Campco Urges PM Modi to Limit Arecanut Imports

He asked the Prime Minister to instruct the relevant authorities to investigate the possibility of a total ban on arecanut imports, claiming that such a move would empower domestic farmers and support the ambitious 'Aatma Nirbhar Bharath' programme.

Shivam Dwivedi
Kishore Kumar Kodgi, President of Campco
Kishore Kumar Kodgi, President of Campco

Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting that arecanut imports be restricted. In a letter to PM Modi, President of Campco Kishore Kumar Kodgi highlighted the issues surrounding the impact of imports on the domestic arecanut sector, claiming that India is self-sufficient in arecanut production.

He stated that arecanut imports continue unabated, causing continuous destabilization in the domestic arecanut market, causing great distress to farmers, and that huge quantities of arecanut are imported both legally and illegally through road, air, and sea.

He claimed that arecanut is being smuggled into India from Myanmar with impunity, with a minimum import tariff value of Rs 251 a kg, and that it is entering India through Silchar in Assam and Falakata in West Bengal. The commodity is transported by rail and road from these locations to Nagpur, Kanpur, and other markets, where it is sold for Rs 250-260 per kilogramme.

"It has been learned from reliable sources that arecanut is infiltrating our country through Chennai International Airport in the guise of millets, as well as through Mundra Airport in Gujarat," he wrote.

Regarding the import of arecanut through seaports, he stated that a large quantity of arecanut was downloaded at the Mumbai Port disguised as dates. Despite the fact that arecanut is not produced in Dubai, a consignment from that destination has been cleared at Mumbai Port, he said, adding that arecanut has been cleared in substantial quantities at Kandla Port and Tuticorin Ports.

In light of the foregoing, he claims that a significant amount of arecanut is legally imported into the country. "Though there are ways and means by which large quantities of arecanut are infiltrated into the country, including illegally," he said, "the exact quantity cannot be assessed."

He asked the Prime Minister to instruct the relevant authorities to investigate the possibility of a total ban on arecanut imports, claiming that such a move would empower domestic farmers and support the ambitious 'Aatma Nirbhar Bharath' programme.

Based on current cultivation costs, Campco also suggested that the government raise the minimum tariff value for arecanut imports from the current Rs 251 a kg to Rs 360 a kg.

He stated that the cost of cultivation has now increased, as have the costs of all items. He explained in the letter that the price of copper sulphate (a fungicide used in arecanut plantations) has risen from Rs 190 per kilogramme in 2015 to Rs 340 per kilogramme now. Labor costs have risen from around Rs 450 per kilogramme in 2015 to around Rs 650 per kilogramme now. According to him, the current cost of cultivation for red arecanut is Rs 409 per kilogramme and for white arecanut is Rs 360 per kilogramme.

"It's important to note at this point that the domestic market is currently flooded with imported arecanut. As a result, we request that you direct the concerned to issue a new notification through the DGFT fixing the minimum tariff value to above Rs 360 a kg based on current cultivation costs," Kodgi wrote to the PM.

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