Betel nut farmers demand trade centre in district

By Times Of India on 08 May 2018 | read
Coimbatore: Alleging that betel nut production has come down to a mere three per cent in the recent years, a group of farmers on Monday filed a petition to the collector urging him to take necessary steps to establish a trade centre in the district.

One of the main reasons for the dip in production is drought and lack of facilities for sales, S Palanisamy of Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Association said. “Betel nuts trees were cultivated on over 20,000 acres of land across Pollachi, Mettupalayam and Thondamuthur region about 10 years ago and the production was over 20%. The land under cultivation has been reduced to just 3,000 acres. Farmers opted out as they do not have a say over the price due to lack of trade centre,” he said, explaining that while farmers in neighbouring states could fix the price, Tamil Nadu farmers were forced to sell the nuts at the buyers’ price.

Traders from North India, mostly from Maharashtra, purchase the nuts at a cheaper rate and export them to foreign countries for a high profit, a farmer said. “While the nuts were sold at an average of Rs 30 per kilogram, the exports price is Rs 50 per kilogram,” he said.