The Center has raised the minimum import price (MIP) for arecanut imports by ₹100 per kg.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), under the Department of Commerce, increased the minimum price for the import of arecanut from ₹251 to ₹351 per kg in a February 14 notification.
The announcement, however, said that the given requirements should not apply to imports by 100% export-oriented units (EOU) and units in the SEZ subject to the provision that no DTA sale is permitted.
Given the rise in arecanut imports and cultivation costs, cooperatives in the arecanut industry, including the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd., sought an increase in the MIP.
Shobha Karandlaje, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, stated on February 10, while in Puttur, Dakshina Kannada district, to participate in the Campco Agri Machinery Fair, that her department had forwarded a proposal to the DGFT to increase the MIP from the current ₹251 a kg to ₹351 a kg.
On February 11, when Union Cooperation Minister Amit Shah came to Campco’s celebration of its 50th anniversary, Campco once again asked for the MIP to be raised.
Stakeholders applaud the move
President of Campco Kishore Kumar Kodgi thanked Union Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal, Cooperative Minister Amit Shah, and Shobha Karandlaje for listening to farmers’ and cooperatives’ requests. He added that as president of Campco, representing 1.38 lakh members, he is pleased because the cost of cultivation has risen dramatically in the last five years.
In August 2022, Campco and other arecanut cooperatives filed a memorandum to the Union Commerce and Agriculture Ministries.
Expecting the price of arecanut to rise, he stated that the importer must now pay a minimum fee of ₹351 per kg plus 108 percent Customs Duty. ‘Naturally, our farmers will get the greatest rate, and the benefit will go to them. ‘I am really pleased that the government made the right decision,’ he remarked.
According to Mahesh Puchchappady, General Secretary of the All-India Areca Growers’ Association, the government’s move to raise MIP will benefit the domestic market and cause prices to rise.
He hoped that the price of the fresh inventories of white arecanut, which is currently around₹ 370 per kg, will rise to ₹400 per kg. He predicted that the price of old inventories of white arecanut, which is currently about ₹455 per kg, might rise to ₹475-485 per kg.
Imports are increasing
During the first eight months of the current fiscal year, both the number and the value of arecanut imports went up by more than 100%.
According to data submitted in response to a question in the Lok Sabha on February 8, India purchased 61452.21 tonnes of arecanut through November 2022-23, compared to 25978.98 tonnes for the full fiscal year 2021-22. This means that in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, Indian arecanut imports went up by 136.35 percent.
The value of imported arecanut increased from $90.18 million in the fiscal year 2021-22 to $217.8 million in the fiscal year 2022–23.