Within 20 days of starting the procurement of arecanut from grower-members amidst the lockdown, the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd has increased the price of the commodity by ₹20 a kg.
Suresh Bhandary, Managing Director of Campco, told BusinessLine that the cooperative will procure new stocks of white arecanut at ₹270 a kg and old stocks of white arecanut at ₹295 a kg from May 4.
On April 13, the cooperative began arecanut procurement of new stocks of white arecanut at ₹250 a kg, and old stocks of white arecanut at ₹275/kg. On April 27, it further increased the price to ₹255/kg for new stocks and ₹280/kg for old stocks of white arecanut. Unlike red arecanut that is used in the preparation of ‘gutkha’ and ‘paan masala’, white arecanut is used in households in the preparation of ‘paan beeda’ or ‘paan’.
Bhandary said the northern India market, especially Uttar Pradesh, is driving the demand for the white arecanut during the lockdown.
Also read: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/campco-increases-days-for-areca-procurement-in-kerala/article31486978.ece
Prior to implementation of the lockdown, a significant portion of the demand in the UP market was met by the imported arecanut, he said, adding that the complete sealing of the borders during the lockdown stopped both the legal and illegal import of arecanut from other countries.
The existing stocks of arecanut have been exhausted completely in the consuming market. This has been driving the demand in the producing centres. “It is a clear indication that the imported quantities were controlling the domestic market earlier,” he said.
Panic selling averted
At a time when a majority of farmers with small and marginal landholdings were dependent on arecanut for their livelihood, Campco intervened during the lockdown to prevent them from panic selling. It bought the commodity at a base price of ₹250/kg when there was absolutely no market in the consuming centres. The main intention of the cooperative was to protect the interests of its grower-members then, he said.
Campco started purchasing only 100 kg per member per month at ₹250/kg (new stocks) and ₹275/kg (old stocks) since April 13. Now the cooperative has increased the procurement quantity to 500 kg per member at a price of ₹270/kg (new stocks) and ₹295/kg (old stocks).
This systematic control by Campco has helped farmers also, as it prevented them from panic selling and helped them get good prices for their stocks, he added.