Consumption of areca nuts is modest in the state, but for local farmers areca nut is good plantation crop due to satisfactory returns and strong market from northern states, reports Bhiva P Parab
Goa is a small state and so the area under cultivation of the areca nut (supari) is less compared to the other large states of India. However the production of areca nut in the state is showing marginal increase over the years.
The production in the year 2014-15 was 2,895 tons, while in the year 2015-16 the production increased to 2,960 tons. In the following year 2016-17 the production increased to 3,102 tons and further 3,200 tons in the year 2017-18.
According to the information available from the sources, the areca nut which is grown in the state has small local market. Major part of the state production is sold outside the state and makes its way to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh which is a big consumer for Goan areca nut.
It may be noted that chewing betel leaf (pan) is traditional custom in many states. The custom of using areca nut in betel leaf is a traditional ritual which dates back to hundreds of years. The supari also finds place in various Hindu rituals in Goa like the rest of the country. And so there is local market for the Supari, albeit of small size. Most of the areca nut is used for chewing but people chewing pan are minority and this is one of the reasons for the small market for areca nut in the state.
A local farmer said that there is market for the supari, however, the price varies and if we get good price it is profitable and during recent years the price we are getting is reasonable. Currently prices are ruling at Rs 232 per kg in the state for old supari.
For proper growth the areca nut tree requires shade, otherwise in the direct sun the plants get damaged. The areca nut plants is used as intercrop and its flowering begins somewhere around in the months of March- April and the harvesting begins around the month of September. Harvesting continues till the month of February, according to the information available from the sources. It may be also noted that the lifespan of the local varieties of the areca nut tree is around 30 to 35 years. Cultivation of arecanut is mainly in three talukas of Sattari, Ponda and Sanguem although some farming also takes place in Canacona and Bicholim. In the hilly regions of interiors areca nut is the main crop and farmers cultivate black pepper, banana, nutmeg and other spices as an inter-crop in the plantation. According to the information available from the sources, the Goa Bagayatdar plays a major role in procurement of the harvested areca nut and major part of the local produce is sold to the cooperative by the farmers. The Goa Bagayatdar in turn sells to traders from outside state. They procure the areca nut from the farmers from the various parts of the state and once they are procured the nuts are sold to traders from outside the state especially the Goan arecanut goes to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
Excessive rains may lower areca nut output in 2019
Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, and Andaman & Nicobar group of Islands are the main areca nut producing states. The recent landslides and floods following heavy rainfall in coastal Karnataka and the Western Ghat regions is said to have severely affected farmers in areca nut-growing regions. Though the survey to assess the crop loss is in progress, the preliminary reports suggest that areca nut crop was affected on around 1,900 acres. In Goa too where the rainfall was copious this year farmers have reported damage to areca nut plantations.