MANGALURU: The Indian Council of Food and Agriculture has chosen areca tea as the best agriculture start-up of the year.
Union minister for commerce and industry, Suresh Prabhu, presented the Agro Start-up Award to Nivedan Nempe, the founder of areca tea, at an award ceremony organized by ICAI in New Delhi last Thursday. Areca tea had earlier received the Make in India award.
“Areca is an absolutely safe and healthy substance. All the clinical tests that areca was subjected to have substantiated this. Now, areca tea is getting national recognition, which only boosts the claim that areca is not hazardous to health, and is safe to consume,” said Nivedan, a pharmacist-turned-entrepreneur from Mandagadde in Thirthahalli, Shivamogga.
According to Nivedan, the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Co-operative Limited (CAMPCO) has received an intermediate clinical report suggesting that areca isn’t dangerous, but on the contrary, is a life-saving substance. However, he refused to divulge details, as he said the organization had been awaiting a final report in two weeks, post which details will be made public. Emphasizing on the credibility of the report, he said it could also be submitted to the Supreme Court.
He said considering the health benefits of areca, his start-up had been receiving orders from various countries, with the highest response coming from the West Indies. He said his company will soon send a consignment of the product to the Netherlands. A team from the US will also visit his firm in the near future, he added. Nivedan said the tea is now being brought out in four flavours—lemon, ginger, mint and tulsi, in addition to the original variant.
Meanwhile, S R Sathishchandra, president, CAMPCO, allayed fears of a ban on areca, and called on cultivators to continue investing in the crop. He said the organization had been expecting an increase in the rate for areca by Rs 15. Currently, the market rate for the crop ranges from Rs 220-Rs 225.