Balasore: Betel leaf is helping the farmers of Baliapala in Balasore district in earning a livelihood. Betel leaf from here, which is also exported to other states, is now in great demand.
According to sources, farmers export betel leaf to many places of Odisha from Baliapala. They are also export to Bihar, Jharkhand, Delhi, Mumbai, and Gujarat. The demand for betel leaf is increasing in these states. Like in every other produce, in this case of betel leaf too, middlemen benefit more than the farmers.
Farmers of Chumukha, Dagara, Narayanpur, Aladia, Nuagaan, and Jambirai panchayats under Baliapala block in Balasore district depend on betel farming to a large extent.
The climatic condition of Baliapala is suitable for betel farming. That is why farmers in these areas mostly prefer to do betel farming, which is of two types i.e Desi and Chandrakana. The latter is more profitable.
Plantation of betel leaf is done in November and March. After five months, the leaf is exported. To plant 1,000 betel trees, the farmers invest near about Rs 15,000. They sell 4,000 betel leaves for about Rs 3,000. Whole-sellers sell them in the range of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 in the Odisha market. Outside the state, they are sold from Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000.
Organic farming is what makes the betel leaf so much in demand. Betel leaf from Baliapala stands out for its distinct taste.