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Farmers in Dakshina Kannada Protest Against Arecanut Smuggling

Farmers in Dakshina Kannada Protest Against Arecanut Smuggling
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Under the banner of Dakshina Kannada Raita Sanghagala Okkuta (Dakshina Kannada Federation of Farmers’ Associations), farmers organized a procession from B.C. Road to Mangaluru on Thursday, urging the Union government to curb the smuggling of inferior-quality arecanut into the country. The protest culminated in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office, where a memorandum was submitted, highlighting concerns about the mixing of substandard imported arecanut with the locally grown high-quality produce, potentially leading to a decline in domestic market prices.

In the memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister through the Deputy Commissioner, Sunny D’Souza, the convener of the federation, emphasized the need for stringent measures to prevent the illegal influx of arecanut into the country. He alleged that low-quality arecanut is being smuggled from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar, posing a threat to the major commercial crop of Dakshina Kannada.

D’Souza stressed that the quality arecanut from the district is in demand not only across the country but also internationally due to farmers’ efforts in maintaining soil fertility. The mixing of low-quality smuggled arecanut with the local produce could adversely impact demand, affecting domestic farmers.

The federation put forward additional demands, including a financial incentive of ₹25,000 per acre for farmers whose arecanut plantations have been affected by leaf spot disease. In the event of farmer suicides, the federation called for a compensation of ₹25 lakh for each affected family. Furthermore, they urged the government to increase the limit of farm loans disbursed through cooperative societies to ₹5 lakh and sought the waiver of farm loans availed by farmers.

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