22-Feb-2018
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Market price double for coconuts: But not in plenty

Kozhikode Feb 10:  Gone are the days when coconut planters eagerly awaited government declaring increased floor price for coconut.  
 
The farmers have now come to a stage when the prices are double the support price,  but produce is not in plenty.   In the last few days,  mill copra (the dried coconut grade used for refining into oil) fetched a price of Rs 14,400 per quintal when the Central Government's price per quintal was raised by 1000 to make it just Rs 7,500 per quinta.  
 
When the support price was declared during March last year,  the open market price was Rs 9,000. Although support price is declared from time to time,  the state does not see much of procurement, when Kerafed deems it unnecessary to intervene in the market in view of the high price. 
 
There were also comments that when the crop was procured last time,  it benefited only the traders and the mill owners in Tamil Nadu.   When widespread complains arose regarding procurement through Krishi Bhavan, the government had declared that fresh coconut would be procured through co-operative societies and fair price paid.  
 
When that was suspended,  it  affected none else than Kerafed, because the company's oil mills could not get enough throughput,  and had to purchase it from Tamil Nadu.   However, the traders from Tamil Nadu are reported to supply Kerafed with inferior grade. 
 
And the traders from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu used to buy the higher grade copra fromKerala and sell it to North India.  But Kerafed Chairman Advocate J. Venugopal asserts that copra is being purchased from local market.
 
Because of the fluctuation in coconut price,   the farmer's demand is that a steadily attractive price has to be ensured.  In a memorandum submitted by Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar to Central Agricultural Price Fixation Commission Chairman V. Sharma, he had asked for a floor price of Rs 9,725 per quinal.  
 
The minister told Madhyamam  that only when market price is lower than support price,  will  Nafed procure copra and because market price is higher,  the new support price will not affect the farmer.  He added that orders have been issued to procure copra via co-operatives, and as part of the exercise a meeting was being convened at Kozhikode.