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MANGALORE: Prices of old stocks of white arecanut called “chol” has jumped by Rs. 10 a kg in a week, with the price touching Rs. 115 in Dakshina Kannada market on Wednesday.
Agrarian economy of the district is primarily based on the price of white arecanut.
Growers and marketing agencies speculate prices might rise to Rs. 125 a kg shortly.
They attribute the increase to scarcity in the arrivals of new stocks of white arecanut because of continued rain this year, reduction in imports, demand from gutka manufacturers, and shifting from using traditional red variety, and shortage of old stocks harvested in 2009-10.
Growers Ramesh Kainthaje from Mani and Louis D'Souza from Uli told The Hindu that increase in price would not help a majority of farmers as they did not have old stocks. November to April was the season to dry harvested arecanut. Extended rain last year and early rain in March and April this year hit farmers as they could not dry it properly. A majority did not take the risk of stocking the produce fearing reduction in quality and sold “hosa adike” (new arrival).
Hence there was shortage in the arrival of old stocks.
Mr. D'Souza said early rain this year resulted in button shedding (dropping of nuts from areca bunches) in many plantations. Hence there was a slump in production this year resulting in shortage in the arrivals of new stocks too.
A.S. Bhat, managing director of Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Limited (Campco), said the price was hovering between Rs. 85 and Rs. 105 a week ago. It started scaling up from November 25. Mr. Bhat, quoting market sources, said that imports had come down.
Manchi Srinivasa Achar, president, All India Areca Growers Association, Puttur, said the present market trend appeared “like an invitation price to tempt farmers to release remaining old stocks to the market.''
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