Minimum import price of areca nuts raised to Rs 162 a kg

Minimum import price of areca nuts raised to Rs 162 a kg

To safeguard interest of domestic farmers, the government on Tuesday hiked the minimum import price (MIP) for areca nuts by Rs 52 to Rs 162 per kg.

“The government has received representations from various stakeholders of areca nut industry against unabated import of areca nuts from neighbouring countries taking advantage of low import duty provided under SAFTA. It has, therefore, been decided to increase the MIP on import of areca nuts from existing Rs 110 per kg to Rs 162 per kg with immediate effect to safeguard the interest of domestic farmers,” an official statement said.

South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was implemented in 2006 between India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The minimum import price (MIP) is the rate below which no imports are allowed.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also advised its field offices to stringently adhere to the quality specifications of areca nut before clearing the import consignments. “This has been done with a view to prevent inferior quality areca nut from entering Indian market and de-stabilise the domestic prices,” the statement added.

‘Utmost care’
The Customs authorities have been advised to check the rules of origin with “utmost care” so as to ensure that areca nut grown in other countries is not imported through neighbouring countries taking advantage of low import duty under SAFTA, it added.

Karnataka is the largest producer of areca nut, followed by Kerala and Assam. As per estimates, the production has been stagnant at around 6.2-6.3 lakh tonnes per year.

According to a report, the value of areca nut imported into India increased by 120 per cent in 2012-13. The country imported Rs 612.78 crore worth areca nut in 2012-13 as against areca nut worth Rs 278.13 crore in 2011-12. A major share of this was imported from Bangladesh.

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