NEW DELHI: The Union government has increased the minimum import price of arecanut from Rs. 110 a kg to Rs. 162 a kg with immediate effect. According to a release issued by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday, it [price rise] is to “safeguard the interests of domestic farmers.”
Press Information Bureau uploaded the release of the Ministry of June 3, 2015, on its website on Wednesday.
The release said that the government has received representations from various stakeholders of the arecanut industry against unabated import of arecanut from neighbouring countries taking advantage of low import duty provided under South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA). Hence, the minimum import price has been increased.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also advised its field offices to stringently adhere to the quality specifications of arecanut before clearing the import consignments. The Customs authorities have been advised to check the rules of origin with utmost care so as to ensure that arecanut grown in other countries is not imported through India’s neighbours, the release said.
Meanwhile, an official from the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd. (CAMPCO) here told The Hindu that with an import price of Rs. 162 a kg, arecanut imported from SAARC countries would cost (landing cost in India including duties) about Rs. 200 a kg and from other countries about Rs. 320 a kg. Still arecanut from the underdeveloped countries of Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh could be imported at zero per cent duty.
But importers would have to obtain licence from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade to do this.
Welcoming the move, Manchi Srinivasa Achar, president, All India Areca Growers’ Association, Puttur, it would help in maintaining stability in the domestic market.
Konkodi Padmanabha, president, CAMPCO said that it would help in curbing import of arecanut.