Minimum import price of areca nuts enhanced
The Dollar Business Bureau
The government today announced an increase in the minimum import price (MIP) of areca nuts by Rs.89, from existing Rs.162 to Rs.251 per kg, to encourage domestic producers and discourage low-cost inferior-quality imports of the product from the neighbouring countries.
It should be recollected that in June 2015 too the government had increased the minimum import price of areca nuts by Rs.52 to Rs.162 per kg. In an official statement then released the government had specified, "On account of unabetting import of areca nut from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia and Myanmar taking the advantage of low import duty provided under SAFTA and consequent representations from various stakeholders, the Department of Commerce has decided to increase the MIP on import of areca nuts from existing Rs.110 per kg to Rs.162 per kg with immediate effect."
The increase in the existing MIP on import of areca nuts will be in the interest of the domestic farmers, the statement said. MIP is the rate below which no imports are allowed.
The largest producer of areca nuts in the country is Karnataka, followed by Kerala and Assam.
As per estimates, annual production of areca nuts has been stagnant at about 6.2-6.3 lakh tonne over the last few years. The country imported Rs.722.21 crore worth of areca nuts in FY2016 as against areca nuts worth Rs.682.35 crore and Rs.162.61 in FY2015 and FY2014 respectively, with a majority of shipments coming from Bangladesh. The move will prevent inferior quality areca nuts from entering Indian market and de-stabilise the domestic prices. The aim is to protect the interest of domestic farmers.