The Karnataka Agricultural Price Commission has stressed the need for the establishment of an Arecanut Board on the lines of Rubber Board and Coffee Board in the country.
Speaking to presspersons on the sidelines of a meeting with farmers, cooperatives and officials of Agriculture and Horticulture departments in Mangaluru on Monday, Prakash Kammardi, Chairman of Karnataka Agricultural Price Commission, said that there is an immediate need to set up a separate board for arecanut to look into the issues confronted by growers, to strengthen production and marketing process, and to look into value-addition to the commodity to increase its contribution to the economy significantly.
The Commission had made elaborate consultations with stakeholders such as farmers, marketing cooperatives, experts, scientists, traders, and government officials in arecanut-growing regions of the State in this regard, he said.
Based on the consultations, the State government had set up a technical committee under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor of Bagalkot-based Horticulture University to discuss the modalities of the Board. Putting forward the guidelines for the establishment of the board, Kammardi said the Arecanut Board should be enacted by parliament through an Act, and should have jurisdiction over the entire country. Since the Board would deal with matters related to economic implications and taxation of the commodity, it should be placed under the Union Commerce Ministry.
Both Central and State governments should have equal stake in policy formulation, decision making and programme execution, he said.
Karnataka, which is the largest arecanut-producing State in the country, has around 2.5 lakh hectares under arecanut cultivation in 140 taluks in the State.
He said the investments made by farmers on arecanut plantations in Karnataka stands at around ₹40,000 crore. Annually farmers spend around ₹3,000 crore on its cultivation.