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Arecanut in India - present situation and future prospects

Mitra, S. K., Devi, H.
Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1205 pp. 789-794
Areca catechu, betel nut, crops, exports, farm families, growers, high-yielding varieties, horticulture, hybrids, industry, livelihood, market prices, multiple cropping, plant health, precision agriculture, production costs, production technology, protocols, research institutions, tissue culture, transportation, uncertainty, universities, value-added products, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Singapore, United Kingdom, Vietnam
Arecanut (Areca catechu) is an important commercial plantation crop of India. The industry forms the economic backbone of a substantial number of farm families. India ranks first both area (49%) and production (50%) in the world in arecanut growing. Commercial production is concentrated in south western and north eastern regions. The states of Karnataka, Kerala, Assam, West Bengal and Meghalaya are the major producers; however, the products from arecanut are widely available across the country. The major export destinations of arecanut value added products namely supari/scented supari and pan masala are Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, UAE, Maldives, UK and Singapore. The Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) and State Agriculture/Horticulture Universities over the years developed a good number of arecanut cultivars and hybrids, protocol for mass multiplication by tissue culture techniques, standardized production technology for different arecanut growing states. Technologies are also available for precision farming, arecanut based multiple cropping systems, integrated plant health management and to develop several value added products. The high yielding cultivars like 'Mangala' (VTL-3), 'Sumangala' (VTL-11), 'Sreemangala' (VTL-17), 'Mohitnagar' (VTL-60), etc. and dwarf hybrids like 'Hirehalli dwarf' (HD), 'VTLAH 1', and 'VTLH 2' have replaced/replacing the traditional cultivars. Stagnating market price, increasing cost of production, uncertainty of demand, transportation problems, etc. have generated livelihood concerns for arecanut growers. This paper discussed in brief the present situation of arecanut cultivation and technologies developed in India and future thrust in order to put a renewed focus for this commercial crop.