Rajasthan's pan masala ban to hit Karnataka

Karnataka accounts for 40-50% of betel nut production in India.

The Rajasthan government on Thursday announced a blanket ban on the manufacture and sale of pan masala and flavoured supari, a move which is likely to have a cascading effect on Karnataka which accounts for 40-50% of betel nut production in India.

Experts in the industry said that the ban will affect the production of areca nut in Malnad and coastal districts of the state. “Most of the state's produce is exported to North India, particularly Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where the consumption is high. But the ban on flavoured supari, where the raw material is areca nut, will affect production in Karnataka," an areca nut trader in Davangere said.

The Malnad Areca Marketing Co-operative Society (Mamcos), which protects the interests of areca growers in three districts, said the ban will severely hit farmers. "Areca cultivators in Karnataka, especially in the Malnad region, will feel the heat. The natural areca does not have any adverse impact on health and the ban on supari, where areca nut is used in large quantity, will be a threat to the farmers who are already reeling under losses," said Y S Subramanya Yadagere, vice-president of Mamcos.

However, the president of Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Limited (Campco), a multi-state cooperative unit, said the ban has no immediate impact on Campco activities or areca farmers in the coast. "Only the red variety of areca nut is supplied in large quantity to Rajasthan and the ban will have no impact for now," said S R Sathishchandra.

All India Arecanut Growers Association president Srinivas Achar Manchi also expressed similar views and said the ban on flavoured supari will not have any impact on areca nut growers. "However, middlemen will cash in on such news and try to procure areca nut from farmers at a lower price," he added.

Besides Rajasthan, the other two states that have declared a complete ban on pan masala and flavoured supari are Maharashtra and Bihar.

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