Minister stresses on value addition to areca products

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Mangalore, Aug 9 (UNI) Karnataka Home Minister V S Acharya today stressed the need for value addition to areca products and diversification in arecanut cultivation to improve earnings of growers.

Speaking after inaugurating a two-day International conference on 'Future of Arecanut', organised by Arecanut Research and Development Foundation (ARDF) here, he opined that arecanut based products were in great demand in foreign countries, provided there was continuous flow and quality. There was also need for more research on the medicinal value of the nut.

The grower was now enjoying fiscal concession but many of his problems remained, he added.

Referring to the demand made by the growers and CAMCPO for removal of four per cent VAT levied on arecanut, the minister said the Empowered Committee of the union government was against it.

He said the BJP government in the State was committed to help the areca farmers and had initiated talks with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on marketing of arecanut in that state.

''We will not let you down. The state government would certainly make sincere efforts to implement the suggestions coming out of this conference'' he assured.

Delivering the keynote address, V V Bhat, Principal Secretary (Finance and Planning), Government of NCR, Delhi stressed that intensive research should be carried out on modern scientific lines to establish that arecanut was not harmful to health.

UNI MA RS TS AKM 1610

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