THRISSUR: The price of arecanut from the state especially from central Kerala has reached an all-time high owing to high demand from North Indian traders, especially in Gujarat, for arecanuts produced in central Kerala.
According to traders, of late, the arecanut export from Thrissur has reached record heights as there is a huge demand for arecanuts from Thrissur, which are now considered as superior in quality in terms of its aroma, taste and flavour than those from other markets, including Mangalore, which have been ruling the arecanut markets in the country down the decades.
According to the statistics available with the Agriculture Department, the area of acreage under arecanut cultivation had been on a steady decline in the state until 2008-09.
But from 2008-09, the area of acreage under cultivation and the production of nuts have been showing a steady increase in the state.
If the total area under cultivation was 97,492 hectares in 2008-09, it has jumped to 1,01,775 hectares in 2012-13 and the latest figure projected by the department for the 2013-14 period is 1,02,085 hectares.
Dr P Indiradevi, head of the Centre of Excellence in Environmental Economics (CEEE) of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), said, though the total area under cultivation increased on a steady pace, the total production of nuts from the state was not in proportion to the increase in acreage.
If 1,25,654 tonnes of arecanut was procured and exported to north Indian markets in 2008-09, it has come down to 1,18,233 tonnes in 2012-13, which is believed to have increased the demand for areca nuts from the state of late, she said.
Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd. (CAMPCO) regional head John Rodriguez said, this is first time in the state that the price of arecanut from Thrissur has reached record high of `325 per kg. Now it is hovering around `300/kg.
The nuts from the Pazanji, Chalisherry, and Thrissur markets are on high demand in North Indian markets and a major chunk of the production is being transported to Gujarat, the main market for the superior quality nuts.
While the medium-sized nuts from other parts of the state are being exported to Uttar Pradesh, Odisha is the main market of low-graded nuts produced from the state, he said.