Why should I say no to areca, asks Gorak Singh

When Sringeri Seer asked Gorak Singh on a report which urged phasing out arecanut step by step, he said “I am not against arecanut growers.”

Central team member Tamil Selvam said “according to Rathinam committee which made a study on problems of arecanut growers in 2000, had said that arecanut is widely used by Gutka industry. Gutka is harmful to health as it lead to cancer and other diseases. Hence, no assistance should be provided to arecanut growers. Based on the report, Horticulture department had stopped all facilities to arecanut growers. Later, when the farmers suicide increased, under Prime Minister’s special package scheme, the department started providing financial assistance to disease affected arecanut plantations for its revival. The present Central team President Gorak Singh was not the member of Rathinam committee.

The team in Sringeri...

 A Central team led by Horticulture Commissioner Gorak Singh visited and inspected the arecanut plantations affected with yellow leaf disease in Sringeri and Koppa taluks on Wednesday.

Speaking to presspersons, Committee member Dr Tamil Selvam said the fall in arecanut price was due to import of arecanut after international agreement. In 2006-07, 76,000 tonne arecanut was imported. Last year, it was 21,000 tonnes.

The arecanut growing areas have been increased by 55 per cent in the country. The production has been increased by 70 per cent. As many farmers have started growing arecanut, several problems have been cropped up.

“We have understood that the areca growers in Sringeri and Koppa taluks are in distress. The problem is really serious. There is a need to reduce the extension of arecanut cultivation and increase the production.”

National Horticulture Mission Deputy Commissioner Dr B S Negi, Plant protection division Deputy Director Dr Manikyam, Vittal Arecanut Research Centre Scientist Dr Anand, State Hosrticulture department Joint Director S K Srikanth and Prasad were present.

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