ARECA NUT IN KARNATAKA
Karnataka has occupied first place among areca growing states in India. As per the statistics provided by government areca is grown in many district of Karnataka. Areca nut is grown in Karnataka as a cash crop and growers spend their entire life in developing and maintaining the crop. The cultivation of areca nut is concentrated in South Kanara, North Kanara, Udupi, Shimoga, Chikmagalur districts of Karnataka which receive heavy rainfall. Areca nut is also grown in plain land area districts like Chitradurga, Davanagere, Tumkur heavily and in certain parts of Hassan, Mandya, Mysore and Kodagu districts of Karnataka. While contribution to total production is about 45% from coastal belt regions, 40% from plain land area and remaining 15% from other districts. Areca cultivation is traditional form of agriculture in malnad and coastal parts of Karnataka. In recent years, it extended to plain lands as they are blessed with irrigation projects and channel water.
The areca variety grown in different districts and belts varies in its quality, size, rate, taste and in harvesting season. Usually crops are harvested in the month of August and September in plain land regions and in malnad areas during December and January. The varieties grown are Mangalore white chali, Shimoga and Davanagere Api, idi, gorabalu and chikkamagalore saraku (hasa) bette, North Kanara rashi, chaali etc. In Karnataka areca nut is marked as unhusked whole fruit, peeled, boiled and dried whole nut, boiled and spilt nuts. Shimoga is a famous market centre for boiled splits (Chooru). Sirsi market is famous for peeled, boiled and dried whole nuts (rashi) and white chali. Mangalore is noted for sun dried whole supari (Chaali). Areca trading activities in all markets are found on regular basis.
In India Karnataka stood first as areca nut is sold through organised markets. The Campco situated in Mangalore established its branches and brands all over India. Karnataka is popular where farmers sell their crops through co-operative societies. Along with areca farmers also growing banana, pepper, cardamom, cocoa, coconut, vanilla as sub-crops with utmost care and interest. Growers of Karnataka generally pay sufficient attention to the selection of land, planting technique, inter cultivation, fertilization, plant protection measures, decease curing processes and weed control. It requires heavy investment of about Rs.2,25,000/- per hectare towards the cost of land layout. Planting and recurring expenditure on cultivation up to the bearing stage, which takes nearly 7-8 years. Later, recurring expenditure comes to about Rs.1,00,000/- per hectare per year. They follow advanced method of planting, yield increasing techniques, machine orientation for many works. The area of areca crop cultivation is increasing day by day in Karnataka as farmers planting areca in paddy and other empty lands as it is a cash crop.
Hubli, Belguam, Bangalore, Vijaypur, Gulbarga are the terminal markets for the distribution of areca to the ultimate consumers of the state. A small part of the produce is stored in the form of fermented areca nut for sale in the off- season.
ARECA NUT IN UTTARA KANNADA
We can see areca plants all over the district. The Uttara Kannada (North Kanara) districts of Karnataka comprises 12 talukas. Geographically it is divided into three. Karwar, Ankola, Kumata, Honnavar, Bhatkal taluka are sea belt regions and Sirsi, Siddapur, Yellapur, Haliyal, Joida, Dandeli are pure malnad area and Mundgod is plain land area. It is one of the major centre of areca nut cultivation and marketing in Karnataka. Areca and paddy are the traditional crops and main source of livelihood to the people residing in these regions.
ARECA AS A COMMERCIAL CROP IN THE UTTARA KANNADA DISTRICT
Areca nut is the major commercial crop of the District cultivated over more than 10000 hectares and producing more than 12375 M.Tns., per year. It represents 14 percent of the state production. Areca is grown all over the District. The yield in Sirsi, Siddapur, Yellapur talukas are high due to climate and soil fertility conditions while at Honnavar, Kumta, Bhatkal are comparably less.
Uttara kannada district is also famous for intercrops like Pepper, Cardamom, Banana, Coconut, Betel vine. In coastal area spices like Nutmeg and Clove is grown. Pepper, Cardamom, Banana are the traditional intercrops in the upper ghat region. Betel vine, Banana, Coconut and Nutmeg are the traditional intercrops grown along with areca in the coastal region. After 1980, farmers of this District gradually started showing some interest in growing cocoa. Loss on banana and pepper crop because of “Katteroga”( Quick Wilt Disease) turned the cultivators in to searching for alternative intercrops. Few farmers in Mundgod, Yellapur and Sirsi started growing pineapple, ginger and turmeric after 1985. Vanilla created a craze in the mind of areca growers during 2002-06 and later market collapsed. Sirsi Supari has created a brand image in the mind of consumers.