Onam and Ramzan festival demand in Kerala pushed up coconut oil prices in Kerala this week.
The oil was steady at Rs 62 a kg (Rs 60 last week), whereas copra was ruling at Rs 4,400 a quintal (Rs 4,200 last week).
Prakash B. Rao, Vice-President, Coconut Oil Merchants Association (COMA), said that the supply of coconut oil and copra has been partially hit in the State following unexpected rains in the last couple of days.
He said coconut oil in Tamil Nadu remained at Rs 59 a kg (Rs 58) whereas copra was firm at Rs 4,200 a quintal (Rs 4,000) due to bulk buying by Kerala traders. Corporate buying was hand-to-mouth, he said.
Palm oil and palm kernel oil, close substitutes of coconut oil, were ruling at Rs 62 a kg and Rs 59 a kg, respectively.
Thalath Mahamood, President, COMA, said that local demand has started picking up in various parts of the State, leading to firming up prices. The market is likely to go up further as festival demand continues.
Bharat N. Khona, former board member, COMA, said that the market would rule steady in the next couple of weeks. He hoped that markets would stabilise by the end of the festival season due to heavy arrivals of coconut oil from Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, the Coconut Development Board is all set to launch a project on copra processing through federations of coconut producers societies by the end of this month.
The federations will give processed copra to the State-level designated procurement agencies — Kerafed and Marketfed. Those federations who have installed a copra dryer under the project will get half of the project cost limited to Rs 6 lakh as grant from the Board.
In the beginning, 20 federations will be selected. The Board will ensure the procurement is transparent. The arrival of more federations into the field will create transparency and farmers will be benefited, the Board officials said.