After the Karnataka government gave permission to Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd to procure arecanut from select centres in the State, the Kerala government has allowed it to procure the commodity from two centres.

However, the growers feel that the number of procurement centres needs to be increased in Kerala also, as the existing system may not help many growers in that State.

SN Khandige, Vice-President of Campco (who represents Kerala in the cooperative), told BusinessLine that the Kasaragod district administration has granted it permission to buy arecanut from farmers on Wednesdays at the Badiyadka and Kanhangad centres. It’s allowed to buy arecanut from a maximum of 30 members in each of these centres.

Thanking Campco for coming forward to buy arecanut at this juncture, Mahesh Puchhappady, General Secretary of the All-India Areca Growers Association, told BusinessLine that the move has instilled confidence among areca growers, as the commodity is a key source of income for many growers in these two States.

Due to the lockdown, the cooperative is not in a position to sell the commodity in the areca-consuming centres in northern India. Yet, Campco has decided to procure it, he added.

Puchhappady said the Kerala government should give Campco permission to procure from some more centres in Kasaragod district and increase the days of procurement. The majority of growers are located around centres such as Mulleriya, Perla and Baayar in Kasaragod district. With the current arrangement, they are not in a position to sell their commodity, he added.

The Karnataka government has allowed procurement at nine centres in Dakshina Kananda district, thrice a week, he said.

SR Satishchandra, President of Campco, told BusinessLine that the cooperative is buying new stocks of white arecanut at ₹250 a kg and old stocks at ₹275 a kg.

The procurement hours are limited between 9 am and 2 pm in Karnataka, and between 11 am and 5 pm in Kerala. Each member can sell either 100 kg of arecanut or the commodity worth ₹25,000 in a month, he added.