Areca Nut – Explained

Areca nut

Context: Dried areca nuts, which attract 100% import duty the legal way, have been smuggled in from Myanmar over the past few years. Mizoram’s farmers are battling to protect their livelihoods from this threat.

Areca Nuts

  • The arecanut palm yields the widely recognized chewing nut, commonly referred to as betel nut or Supari.
  • It holds significant cultural and religious importance, particularly among the populace of India.
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Climatic Condition

  • The cultivation of arecanut is mostly confined to 28º north and south of the equator.
  • It grows well within the temperature range of 14ºC and 36ºC.
  • It is adversely affected by temperatures below 10ºC and above 40ºC.
  • Altitude should not be more than 1000m.
  • Arecanut requires abundant and well distributed rainfall.
    • It grows well in tracts, where annual showers may go up to or even more than 4500 mm. 
    • But it also survives in low rainfall areas having 750 mm annual precipitation.
    •  During prolonged dry spell palms should be irrigated.
  • Arecanut cultivation was predominant in gravelly laterite soils of red clay type of Southern Kerala and Coastal Karnataka.
    • Laterite, red loam, and alluvial soils are most suitable.

Varieties of Betel Nut:

In India there are two varieties of areca nut.

  1. White variety 
  2. Red variety. 
  • The white areca nut is produced by harvesting the fully ripe nuts and then subjecting them to sun drying for about 2 months. 
  • In the red variety, the green areca nut is harvested, boiled and then its exterior husk is removed.

Production of Areca Nuts in India

  • India is the major producer of arecanut which accounts for 50% of production and 43% area under arecanut in the world.
  • The last three years’ average production in India indicated that Karnataka was the major producer with a 79% share in Indian production followed by Kerala (7%) and Assam (4%).
    • Coastal districts such as Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi are the major producers in Karnataka.
  • India’s share of export of arecanut in the global market is less than five per cent while the share of Indian arecanut import is around 22 per cent (2020).

Policy Intervention

  • An import duty of 100% is levied on arecanut in India. But the least developed SAARC countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Afghanistan are exempted from paying this duty.
  • To safeguard the farmers, the Indian government introduced the Minimum Import Price (MIP), import of arecanut below which is prohibited.
    • The MIP imposition restricts unabated import, prevents entry of inferior quality produce, and helps to stabilizes domestic prices.

Previous year questions (2014)

Consider the following pairs:

Region Well known for the production of
Kinnaur Areca Nuts
Mewat Mango
Coromandel Soya bean

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1,2 and 3

(d) None



Consider the following:

1. Areca nut

2. Barley

3. Coffee

4. Finger millet

5. Groundnut

6. Sesamum

7. Turmeric

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has announced the Minimum Support Price for which of the above?

(a) 1, 2, 3 and 7 only

(b) 2, 4, 5 and 6 only

(c) 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7


Source: The Hindu

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