Agri Business

Coconut procurement price hike in Budget fails to enthuse farmers

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 15, 2021

Govt has not given any road map on how to proceed with procurement drive, they say

The raising of procurement price of coconut in the Kerala Budget from ₹27 to ₹32 per kg has brought hardly any cheer to the farming community, especially when prices are witnessing a spiralling trend at ₹42.

Terming it as an eyewash, P Vinod Kumar, Chairman of Consortium of Coconut Producer Companies, said the government did not intervene when the farming community badly needed support on price drop at ₹27 during April, May and June last year. The State Agriculture Department was not proactive over the last five years and remained a mute spectator in the wake of the declining trend.

Moreover, the government has not given any road map on how to proceed with the procurement drive in the absence of infrastructure like quality inspection, processing of nuts after procurement, extending finance to farmers, etc.

According to him, coconut producer companies required infrastructure but they were not kept in the loop before moving ahead. Moreover, there is no mention of the promotion of Neera, as producers are in dire straits because of various issues.

Reviving coconut farming

However, official sources said that the government initiative to increase the procurement price is a good move as farmers will be in a position to get a better price in the event of a price crash. Since the prices are on the higher side now, there is no need for an immediate procurement at the announced rates.

Kerala’s coconut production in 2018-19 was 5,300 million nuts compared to the All-India figure of 21,288 million tonnes. However, the production this year may be slightly lower because of weather-related issues and in that event, prices are likely to remain stable. P Indira Devi, former Director of Research, Kerala Agricultural University, said that the share of Kerala in the area and production of coconut in the country has declined over time. It being a small farmer crop, which directly and indirectly supports rural livelihoods through employment generation, better prices can act as a driver to boost the rural economy.

The massive project on reviving coconut farming in India is already being implemented. The scientific management of coconut is closely linked to the price of nuts. In that sense, she said, better prices may boost the productivity of palms which, in turn, can improve the coconut-based economy of the State.

Published on January 15, 2021

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