The cultivation of arecanut in Karnataka is concentrated in the districts of Daxhinakannada, Shimoga, Uttarkannada and Chikmagalur which receive fairly heavy rainfall. These districts accounts for more than 79 percent of the total areca comprising 83 percent of the total production of the state. It is also grown in the plains of Tumkur, Chitradurga, Hassan districts and parts of the districts of Mandya, Mysore,Kodagu, Dharwad, Bellary and Kolar. Areca is the major commercial crop of Karnataka having root in fifteen districts. Majority of the areca growers in the state depend heavily on he income derived from the arecanut for their livelihood.
In Karnataka arecanut is marked as unhusked whole fruit, dehusked and dried nut, boiled and dried whole nuts, boiled and spilt nuts. Shimoga is a famous market centre for boiled splits(Chooru), Sirsi market has made a name for boiled whole nuts, and Mangalore is noted for sun dried whole supari(Chali) Hubli,Davangere, Bangalore, Bijapur, Gulbarga are the terminal markets for the distribution of areca to the ultimate consumers of the state. 30 percent of the marketable surplus is handled by the co-operative societies in the primary market. Arecanut growers of Karnataka, unlike other states, grow other intercrops. Major traditional intercrops grown here include Pepper, Banana Cardmom,Coconut and Spices. In the last decade people started growing ginger, tumeric and coca.Growers of Karnataka generally pay sufficient attention to the selection of land planting technique, intercultivation, manuring, plant protection measures, 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 years. Later, recurring expenditure comes to about Rs.40,000/-per acre per year. A small part of the produce is stored in the form of fermented arecanut for sale in the off- season. In Assam, about 90 percent of arecanut is locally consumed in the form semi-ripe and fermented arecanut. The growers themselves sell the produce in the primary markets to the private traders, who in turn convert it into whole or split dry arecanut. The same pattern of marketing is followed in Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
The assembling and distribution is done in West Bengal through a large number of periodical markets, where the growers themselves take the produce and sell it to the consumers directly. In Maharashtra, arecanut is processed in the form of ripe nut. The outer skin of the fruit is stripped from these sides and dried partially. Afterwards, the produce is sold to the middleman and commission agents who take up for dehusking and sorting.
In Goa, generally the crops is harvested only in ripe stages. Over 80 percent of the produce is converted into dehusked and dried whole fruit and remaining is consumed as fresh nut or preserved in water for use in the off season. In Karnataka, about 95 percent of the harvested crop is converted into different types of processed boiled unboiled split and powdered arecanut.A major portion of assembling is done by co-operative societies situated in important production regions. States like Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh, nearly 90 percent of the harvested produce is converted into boiled type variety and marketed in important production centres.
In case of ripe nuts, sales are effected by open negotiations between sellers and buyers and the produce is delivered on the spot in ready cash. In some regions crop contractors give advance before the harvest, when it is grown contractors take it for disposal. Moreover, there is no inter-state trade in ripe nuts,since it is consumed locally. In the case of processed nuts, the price is settled based on weight, size and grade.
The Uttara Kannada (North Canara) is a coastal district of Karnataka state. It consists of coastal region and Malnadu area. It is one of the major centres of arecanut cultivation and marketing in Karnataka.
Arecanut is the major commercial crop in the Dist., cultivated over an area of 1944 hectares, producing 12375 MTns., it represents 14 percent of the state production. Areca is grown in all over the Dist. Sirsi, Siddapur, Yellapur, Honnavar, Kumta are the important talukas which represent nearly 89.80 percent of the total area of production in the Dist. It is also confined to Bhatkal, Joida, Karwar and Mundgod talukas.
Uttar Canada district, is famous for intercrops like Pepper, Cardmom, Banana, Coconut, Betelvine. In coastal area spices like Nutmeg and Clove is grown. Pepper, Cardmom, Banana are the traditional intercrops in the upper, ghat section. Betelvine, Banana, Coconut and Nutmeg are the traditional intercrops grown along with areca in the coastal region. After 1980, farmers of this Dist. gradually started showing some interest in growing cocoa. Loss on banana and pepper crop because of “Katteroga”(Diseases) attracted the cultivators as an alternative intercrops. Few farmers in Mundgod, Yellapur, and Sirsi started growing pineapple, ginger and turmeric after 1985.