China Approves Indian Arecanut For Imports
Chinese consumers have been increasingly using arecanut-based mouth fresheners to quit smoking Here is some good news for arecanut farmers, who were under pressure due to steep drops in prices.
Arecanut grown in India has received certification from China, and this has opened up new markets for farmers.
But the challenge remains the price, which is not viable for Karnataka growers because the production cost there is high, while it will help farmers in Assam.
M Suresh Bhandary, managing director, The Campco Ltd, a co-operative of arecanut and cocoa farmers, said that arecanut from the Shivamogga, Puttur and Coimbatore regions had been processed at a plant in Puttur and after certifying its quality, it had been exported to China.
“Dry arecanut from India is a qualified product,” he said.
The Chinese counterparts have now shown interest in the green tender arecanut, which has retained its colour. The Chinese market favoured the Mohitnagar variety for its quality, he added.
Bhandary said besides the domestic market, the export market had opened up. This will help them to make up for price drops in the domestic market. Till now they did not have an option.
He said currently the Chinese market was not attractive for the growers in Karnataka since the export market price was Rs 50 lower than what was viable for them, whereas for growers in Assam it matched both the production cost and gave them a good margin.
The prices of arecanut in Karnataka are estimated to be Rs 220-270 a kg, while in Assam they are Rs 160-220 a kg. Chinese firms have offered Rs 200 a kg.
Last year, the first consignment of 400 kg of tender arecanut, used by Chinese companies in mouth fresheners, was shipped as samples to China. Companies in China are working with The Campco to source arecanut from India. The sample packs had been dispatched for quality acceptance.
Campco will supply arecanut to Kou Wei Wang (King of Taste), one of the largest mouth-freshener manufacturers in China. The buyer had visited India and was happy with the raw material, said Bhandary.
There are more than 20 manufacturers of arecanut mouth-fresheners in China. As more Chinese are using mouth fresheners to quit smoking, the supply is not enough. The Campco has estimated that 90 per cent of India's arecanut production can meet China’s demand.