Areca: Panel advices irks farmers

Gorak Singh, the Commissioner of the Union Agriculture and Cooperative Department, leads the high power committee. The panel’s report has already been submitted to the government, which is said to have aimed at eleminating the areca crop in phases.

“Areca is the raw material for gutkha, that causes dangerous diseases like cancer. Hence, the government should not support the crop in any manner. It should be eliminated in phases. Alternative crops should be developed instead,” it recommended. The areca growers have expressed their anger and apprehensions over the consequences of the report. “The people of the region do not have alternatives. Most of them are dependent on areca. Moreover, they have already sufferred a lot due to drought and deluge, and various plant diseases. In such a situation, the recommendations drawn by the officials sitting within four walls will destroy the crop completely,” they alleged. They said the government has already denied various facilities to the areca growers after the Gorak Singh panel submitted its report. The areca has been kept out of the National Horticulture Mission. The elected representatives and organisations should oppose the recommendations, they urged.

The areca yield has been totally destroyed in an area of 3,000 acres in Sringeri, Koppa and Mudigere taluks due to yellow leaf disease.

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