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USES OF ARECA AND ITS COMPONENTS

The search for developing alternate uses of Areca nut is based on finding best use for the various components of the nut and its traditional industrial and medicinal uses.

Areca tree is known to have several uses. The every components of the tree is used for one or the other purposes in human life. Many practices and uses of its components are not brought to picture due to ignorance, lack of interest, less scope for research and heavy investment requirement etc. To safeguard the future of Areca growers it is advisable some research need to be undertaken by business people, co-operatives, scholars, farmers, Universities and others connected.

Following are the different components of Areca:

  1. Areca root
  2. Areca tree
  3. Areca nut
  4. Areca tannin
  5. Areca husk
  6. Areca leaf
  7. Areca flower

  A. TRADITIONAL USES OF ARECA AND ITS COMPONENTS

1. ARECANUT :

Areca nut is already made available in the market with different varieties such as powdered quality, scented one, ‘gutkha’, 'pan masala' and 'mama' with zarda tobacco mix, sweet and masala forms and roasted small pieces in an attractive sachets and packets. There, still is lot of opportunity and potentiality of introducing in the form of slices, mumries, pieces or powder in different colors by adding its value with spices and chilli powder (Spicy and pungent areca nut) in  sachets'. In order to boost pan-beeda market in the domestic and foreign, long lasting ready-made pans may be made available in the attractive healthy packs or containers. Another possibility is that it could be developed as chewing gum. For this, necessary research may be undertaken. If it is achieved, market could be captured easily. Further, exploiting its physical and chemical properties, production of ideal mouth freshener could be thought of to attract the attention of Multinational Companies. Aesthetically, attractive and imaginative novelties can be made from areca nut taking advantage of the natural color and having variation on the surface. For instance, it can be used for preparing toys for small babies, garland, statues and different show case pieces by giving fine art touch on it. It can also be utilized in the production of various show case pieces, like paper weight. Considering its rich chemical and physical properties, already conducted pilot research in Mizoram State had promised that it could be useful in extracting liquor. Another experiment conducted in CFTRI - Mysore in Karnataka proved that it could be used in preparing beverage with betel leaves.

2.TANNIN (‘CHOGARU’) :

Tannin is obtained as a by-product from the process of preparing immature betel nuts for masticator purposes. The sediments found in the tannin when it is dried, is called areca nut dust. Tannin in areca nut were being used for dyeing clothes and tanning leather. It can be used as an adhesive in ply board manufacture. Another possible use of areca tannin is as a safe food coloring agent. Black writing ink of acceptable quality may be prepared. Further, it is also useful in protecting house hold furniture by applying it like varnish. In the olden days tannin is used like paints to color walls. Traders use it to store areca for long duration by applying it. So that, necessary research may be undertaken to prepare acceptable wood oil  and gums by using tannin as a major ingredient. Department of Chemistry of Delhi University and Chemical Technology, University of Bombay had undertaken study to identify the properties of tannin to find out to its alternative uses.

3.FATS AND ITS USES :

The areca nut contains 8-12 percent fatness. It can be extended by solvent extraction using hexane. It can be made edible by refining it using soda lime’. The refined areca fat is harder than cocoa, butter and even better, due to its high muriatic acid content. It could be softened by undergoing certain chemical processing and then it can be used as confectionery fat. Simple mixture of areca fat with butter fat at 3:1 ratio or with cocoa fat at 1:1 ratio could give product acceptable in confectioneries. Further, it could be used in preparation of biscuits, soaps, tea, chocolates, rasam powder, pickle, wine, herbal powder, cool drinks, syrup, gum, sweets, vinegar and savories and in place of vanaspati. Encouraging result have been obtained in preparing chewing gum and tooth paste using this extract of areca nut. Sweet supari making requires variety without fat.

4.ARECANUT HUSK AND ITS UTILITY: 

Husk is the outer cover or wrapper of the areca fruit which include 50-75 percent of the total volume and weight of the fruits. About 275000 tones of dry husk can be estimated annually in India. It is now everywhere in India being largely wasted except for being used as an inferior fuel, mulching and in manure. It was used in Indochina and Philippines for herbal tooth brushes. The biochemistry and physical properties of the husk have been studied by Baruah, Raghavan and Murthy (1957) and at the Jute Technological Research Laboratory (JRIL) Calcutta. The husk is anatomically divided into 3 zones. The outer layer covered with cuticles, the middle layer which encloses the fibers and the hard and stony inner layer addressed to the nut. JRTL having studied the physical properties of areca husk, identified its tenacity, fineness and textural rigidity. Based on the various tests, it proposed that fiber content could be used for making such items as thick, boards, fluffy cushions and non woven fabrics. Several studies have been carried out particularly in the Forest Research Institute (F.R.I.) Dehradun to see areca nut husk could be utilized for preparing hard board and plastics. As a result, it has been proved that plastic and hard boards of satisfactory strength and water repellent material can be made from areca husk. It can also be used in preparing boxes, cushioned envelops, soft boards, pillow, beds, etc., The studies carried out at the Central Food Technology Research Institute (CFTRI) Mysore (Karnataka), proved that areca husk could be chemically pulped and it can be used to prepare craft paper. However, to exploit the utility of areca husk in this line, problems of transporting husk to the factory point and the high costs of chemicals required for digesting the husk are appeared to be major bottlenecks while using it commercially. Possibilities of producing activated carbon from the husk has offered promising result. Areca husk can be used as a manure as it contains 1.0-1.1 percent N2, 0.4-0.5 percent P2O2 and 1.0 - l.5 percent K2o. Therefore, it could be a good organic manure if properly composted. However, advanced research is suggested since it is resistant to microbial-degradation. Another possibility is that it can be used as raw material for preparing ready-made toys, flowers, garlands and decorative ornaments and many types of show case pieces.

 

B. MEDICINAL USES

Areca nut having long history and reputation in India, China and Philippines as it has been extensively used particularly in veterinary practices. The fresh nut has intoxicating properties and produces giddiness, the ripe nut is astringent and is now used only in veterinary practice as a vermicide. VAGBHATA’S (4th Century A.D.) reference to areca nut is probably the earliest reference in any text. He describes its use in the treatment of leucoderma, leprosy, cough, fits worms, anemia and obesity. Areca nut is recommended as an ointment for the treatment of nasal ulcer along with other ingredients. BHAVAMISRA(13th Century) recommended the use of areca nut for its appetizing and stimulating properties. Mr. WATT (1889) suggested that areca nut powder could be used as anthelmintic for dogs to expel tape worms and thread worms. NADAKARNI (1908) mentions that arecoline which is isolated from areca nut, resembles muscarine and produces a fall in a blood pressure. The tincture of nut is used for bleeding gums after diluting with water. The juice of tender leaves mixed with oil is applied in case of lumbago and decoction of the root cures sore lips. DESAI (1927) reported that roasted areca nut is useful in dysentery. CHOPRA (1933) mentioned that the nut is useful in bookworm infection. It is evident that, areca nut had long been in use as medicine in India along with other parts of the palm. The areca nut decoction had been found to be effective in taenia infections. It was used for the treatment of helminthic infection in both human beings and animals in combination with other drugs. SIA (1959) recommended areca nut decoction and magnesium sulphate as a purgative after a prior treatment with pumpkin seed powder. Arecoline contents of areca nut is used in an anti snoring composition, which was formulated into gargles and tablets. (KHOE, 1975) BASU, BASKAR and (1942) have reported that lime with nut chewing meets calcium deficiency of Indian diet.

In view of the above, in brief, it can be summarized that areca nut and its components with other elements could be used in human medicines like thread worms, tape worms, skin problems, cough, fits, anemia, obesity, nasal ulcers, appetizing effect, blood pressure, bleeding gums, sore lips dysentery, hook worms, taenio infections, helminthic infections, purgative effects and for calcium deficiencies. Apart from this it can be also used in veterinary medicine in expelling worms, skin problems soaring, bleeding problems, bleeding gums, hook worms thread and tape worms. Even areca components could be used to prepare medicines in Synus, Gangrin, Herfis, Tooth-ache, Virus diseases. It could be a best medicine for itching problems a skin disease. Hence areca is an effective blood purifier.

  C. USE OF OTHER COMPONENTS OF ARECA

  1. Areca tree is used as protecting measure to their garden land.
  2. It can be used in the form of water supplying pipe.
  3. Areca tree is used to construct temporary sheds and tents.
  4. It is used as reaper in houses roofed with tiles.
  5. It can be used as ladder, and act as alternative to foot bridges to cross small rivers.
  6. Areca tree can be turned into usable furniture like chairs, table, sofa etc.
  7. Areca husk can be used for drainage construction in garden lands.
  8. Areca leaf is used as areca collecting bags, like plates, bowls, fire wood, cap, rain protector etc.
  9. Areca leaf is used in the form of rope to tie bags, pepper plants betel vine plants.
  10. Areca flower is used for worship and decoration purposes.
  11. Areca leaf over which drawing fine-looking pictures can be enjoyed.

D. ARECA PRODUCTS

1) ARECA  PLATES:

 

2) Areca Table and Chair :

3) ARECA  SOAP:

  

4) ARECA TOOTHPASTE: 

 

5) ARECA TEA POWDER :

6) ARECA VITA

7) ARECA WINE:

8) PAINTING  OVER  ARECA PLATES :

9) ARECANUT GARLAND :


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QUALITY FACTORS

 Since Areca Nut is stored and graded into number of varieties in order to fetch desired rate, it should satisfy the certain conditions:

1.BOILED NUTS: 

The Maturity, color, glossy appearance, moisture contents, weight etc., determine the quality of boiled nuts. The best nuts of this type are prepared from tendered mature nuts. The outside color, glossy look is crucial and bright, dark brown color is an indicator of freshness and of good quality, while dull appearance reflects the poor quality. At the same time, the inside color of the kernel is also very significant. The best aapi should show creamy white color when it is broken. Moisture content and percentage of broken have same bearing on the quality in case of other varieties. In U.K. District Sirsi, Siddapur, and Yellapur are the famous markets for boiled nuts.

2.BETTE: 

The Maturity, color, appearance, moisture content, strongness tenacity and weight are quality factors. Sirsi, Siddapur, Yellapur, Joida and to some part of Bhatkal are suppliers of Bette quality nuts in the District.

3.API/CHIKANI:

 Nuts should be harvested a little before  normal harvest. Color, size and shape also contributing factors towards the quality. Yellapur area is famous for chikani quality nuts and it attracts many traders and Commission Agents because of quality chikani nuts. This variety is also found in Sirsi and Siddapur markets to a little extent compared to Yellapur.

4.CHALI VARIETIES:

 The Color, weight, maturity, broken percentage, inside color, durability, smell, size and shape are the major constituents of the quality. Sirsi market is known for good quality of 'Chali' after Mangalore. In 'Bilegotu' variety the strongness weight, size, color, of the skin etc., are the quality indicators. 'Chalikempu', 'Koka' variety is judged based on its thickness, color, smell and utility. In 'Vadaku' variety, color, brokens, inside moisture contents etc., will determine the quality of nuts. Coastal regions of the District too supplies good quality of chali varieties.

 


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PROCESSING OF ARECA NUT

   

      Mainly in the field of areca processing problems arises even prior to harvesting  and ends before it is marketed. Commercial processing will be done by the intermediaries involved in the secondary market. The methods of preparation of nuts to be sold in the market is the subject matter of processing. The major issues related to processing aspect in the District comprises the following elements.

1. HARVESTING : Besides climate conditions, the time of harvesting areca nut  determines the quality of nuts to be prepared. When red variety nuts are to be prepared, it is plucked while the husk is still green or at the gentle stage. In case of matured nuts, the color of the husk indicates the stage of maturity. The bunches are plucked when the color of the husk becomes pinkish red. When matured nuts are plucked, it could be used for preparing white variety (Chali). By October end, ripening of nut starts and it lasts up by the end of January, in case of coastal regions of the District. However, in Malnad regions, this period is from November  to February end.

2. PLUCKING : The bunches of areca nut appear near the top close to leaves. Climbing up an areca palm and plucking the bunches is considered to be a special art, skill and technique. Only specialized and experienced labors can perform this task. One climber can deal with around 300 to 400 areca trees in a day. Generally, the climber takes with him a long rope and after cutting the bunch smoothly keeps the bunch on the rope from the top and lets it come down, where another person holds the rope at the another end and collects the bunch so coming down. Long bamboo hook is often used to draw the palms together for cutting the bunches without climbing trees. He  bends and pulls other tree with the help of bamboo hook and leaps on it and similarly removes the bunches from the other trees to which he has access. Generally, it is a practice that climber will test the nuts whether it has matured or not before exterminating the bunches. He is called as ‘konegowda’ in local language. areca bunch is called "Kone".

3. PEELING : The next main work under this process is husking and curing. Trained women coolies are employed for husking. They peel areca with the help of special instrument made for this purpose. An ironed sharp "L" shaped bend knife which is fixed on wooden piece is used. In case of tendered nuts, husking process is under taken soon after the harvesting and should be finished within 4-5 days. If it is delayed quality will suffer. When white variety is to be prepared, husking activity will be carried after putting areca in sun light for burning about 40-45 days. Now a days farmers are facing problem of getting specialized labors for this work. An Experienced labor can get average 4000 nuts peeled a day. Wage rate is generally fixed on the number of nuts husked in thousands and per K.G of nuts husked. Current husking rate is about 50-60 per thousand or Rs 10 per K.G as practice followed in different region. Generally, they face the problem of getting skilled labors to get this work done at the right  time. Further, climate variations during the season will worsen the problem of curing.

4. BOILING : The tender nuts are boiled soon after they are husked in a copper vessel for a duration of an hour. While boiling  nuts the most common practice followed to test boiling status is that when the nuts loses its eye, it is supposed to be understood that it is fully boiled. In order to improve the color and the quality of the kernels various organic and inorganic ingredients such as barks of teak tree, lime, betel leaf, oils etc., are added to the water while boiling. When the nuts are fully boiled, they are taken out from the vessel by means of perforated can dipper(Togaru Chippu) and floured to the bamboo basket. This process requires certain quantum of  firewood for boiling. Arrangement of required firewood are made locally by farmers.

5.DRYING AND GRADING : Boiled kernels are dried on a special bamboo or plastic  mats  about seven to eight days under the sun light by spreading in open yard or on a raised platform created in front  of the grower’s house called ‘adike atta’.for the said purpose. Every day in the morning the nuts are spread to get sufficient sunlight and in the evening  spread nuts are collected in heap and covered by the gunny bag, plastic or areca leaf sheaths to protect it from the dews during in winter nights. After having repeated this process about seven to eight days, the nuts are get ready for use. Now, nuts are sorted and graded in to different varieties called ‘Aapi’, (chikani), ‘Rashi’, ‘Bette’, ‘Kempugotu’, ‘Ajagigai’, and ‘Kolekempu’ or ‘Kempukoka’. kettabette etc. based on size, taste, rate, durability etc. 'Bette' variety requiring sun burn over 12 days as the  size is big. 

       The fully ripened nuts, are merely dried soon after the harvest in the sun light  about 40-45 days (depending upon the availability of sunlight) without removing the husk. Before drying, it is called as ‘Sippegotu’ after drying it becomes ‘Dry Chali’ or after extracting the outer cover or wrapper (husk) nuts becomes ‘Chaali’. Some farmers in the District wait at least eight to ten days after the harvest to dry it in the sun light as they believe that its weight and quality will improve by doing so. Farmers follow the practice of drying areca bunches directly without separating nuts from the bunch, which are kept on the roofs of the house or on the ‘atta’ or on the floor. However, majority farmers  separate nuts from the bunches and spread it over  the floor or ‘atta’.  As nuts to receive sunlight from all the dimensions they are reversed or re-spread after every 10 or 15 days from first spread. So that quality nuts can be obtained. There after dried nuts are husked and dry kernels are sorted and graded in to different varieties called ‘Chaali’, ‘Bilegotu’, ‘Vadaku’, ‘Chalikempu’, ‘Gattikoka’, and Aragere, ‘Laddukoka’. etc., based on size, taste, rate, durability etc.

6. COLORING : After boiling of areca nut in a copper vessel, the water remained in the vessel is not get wasted. in fact, it is re-boiled for a couple of hours and little thick liquid is prepared and now it is called tannin or ‘Chogaru’. The sorted and graded tender nuts are soaked or coated with this tannin to get a glossy and attractive red appearance. This process is called ‘Coloring’. After coloring, nuts are kept again under the sun light about 4-5 hours and in the evening time they will be packed in gunny bags. This chogaru acts like medicine to keep areca for long duration in the form of stock. Now it is ready for marketing. Now a- days buyers are interested in non- colored nuts as they process it again into different variety and undertake coloring activity. However, coloring is not done to ripen nuts or chaali variety. Only ‘chali kempu’ variety is colored to attract the marketer. Chaali is fumigated to keep in the form of stock for long duration and to safeguard it from affecting creatures.

7. PREPARATION OF FACTORY VARIETY : Specially in the coastal region, the harvested ripe nuts are stored in pits or steeped in water for consumption during off season. This variety has considerable demand in the local market and in Bombay market as well. After storing up to a period of one year it can be sold in the market. This type of processing is done only in the coastal areas.

 

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PROBLEM ASSOCIATED WITH PRODUCTION

1. COST OF CULTIVATION:

 In Today's environment to start areca cultivation one should have patience, commitment, perseverance, team of labors and ability to invest lakhs of rupees. Preparation of land layout for planting, fencing, digging and opening of drains, digging of pits for areca planting, cost of areca seeds, fertilizers, irrigation materials and expense of plant protection measures, mulching and shading expenses, crop operations, cleaning of drains, application of fresh soil and management of intercrops are the major components of cost involved in the cultivation of areca nut. Now a  days areca cultivation  by buying plain land calls for substantial investment.

2.PESTS CAUSING MAJOR CROP LOSS: 

Areca nut cultivation in the study area is subject to disturbance by several insects and non-insects. These insects could infest all parts of the areca palm from the root to areca fruits. The major pests causing considerable crop loss to the farmers will comprise of Mites, Spindle bugs, Caterpillars and Root grubbers. These pests are either seasonal or persistent with the crop. Non insect pests cause fall of Inflorescence and leaves. Apart from this, other minor Nursery pests, trunk feeders, Leaf feeders and tender nut feeders are considered to be faltering chunk in the course of production.

3.DISEASES: 

Areca nut palm in the District is reported to be affected by a number of diseases during different stages of its growth and development. ‘Around 20 types of diseases causing varying degrees of damages to the tree have been discovered and identified in India’.

However, in UK District the following major nine types of diseases are reported to be responsible for the downfall in the process of production activity.

     - Yellow leaf diseases (YLD)or ‘Chandi roga’.

       -  Mahali (‘Kole roga’).
        - ‘Anabe roga’ or mushroom bottom route.
        - Inflorescence death and batten flaking.
        - flower or bud decompose.
        - The spring or ‘Hirimundige’.
        - Sun scorch or Stem breaking.
        - Nut splitting (front and back).
        - Fungal infection.

4.WATER AND IRRIGATION DIFFICULTIES: 

U.K District is wealthy in river. Still, in recent years farmers are facing water problem here and there due to lack of channelized water supply system and erratic rain effect. Moreover, reduced level of ground water has added fuel to the burning issues. Though there are many ponds, lakes, water reservoirs in the high land area, they are with full of mud, due to improper maintenance, negative attitude shown by authorities concerned or organized body of farmers and individual farmers to clean up the water sources for its utilization. Farmers need to invest lakhs of rupees to irrigate land.

5.EFFECTS OF DEFORESTATION, DWINDLING AND DWINING OF GREEN FORESTS: 

Geographically, U.K. Dist. is spread over an area of 10,29,679 hectare, out of which 80 percent is forest land and only 1,38,711 hectare is  available for cultivation. But today so called green and gleaming compact of dense forest depicts the dwining scene due to power projects and other projects in the name of development. Finally this deforestation effect has made deep impact on areca farming. It could be seen from the attack of wild animals and birds, crowd in the areca garden, reduction in water supply, increased temperature, decreasing rain etc., Besides this providing grebe green leaf manure has become costly for the farmers, it has badly damaged the yield.

6.LACK OF LABOUR SAVING APPLIANCES :

 Till today, areca cultivation has maintained its unique nature of labor intensive system. Problems of labor has created the urgent need and necessity of labor saving appliances. However, these are not available to the desired extent, which has posed  problems over production.

7.STABILITY IN  PRODUCTION : 

Quantum of yield  differs from place to place in the District. On the contrary, yield rate is not stable due to climate variations, rain, diseases and pests. So that growers will have to face the situation of instability in the production. This trend will have impinging impact on the socio-economic development of the growers.

8.DIFFICULTY IN GROWING INTERCROPS : 

Over the period of decades, U.K. Dist. has maintained its traditional popularity in producing intercrops like Pepper, Cardamom, Banana, Betel vine, and coconut. But, since fifteen years it became difficult to grow these intercrops due to various diseases, erratic rate behavior, disturbance caused by the animals, birds attack etc. Therefore, failure of inter crops have accelerated the problems of areca gardeners having the adverse effect over yield on the one hand and threatening  economic life on the other.

9.CROP MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION : 

Unlike other agricultural crops areca is to be maintained properly to enjoy the benefits of better yielding. It has to be protected at all the stages before, during and after the harvest from the natural calamities, pest and other diseases, animals, labor, technical, theft etc., Hence thought to be hard to grow and maintain.

 

 


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