Srikakulam: Steep fall in price hits coconut farmers

Srikakulam: Steep fall in price hits coconut farmers

  • The prices fall to Rs 8,000 for 1,000 coconuts from Rs 15,000-Rs17,000 two months back in open market
  • Srikakulam variety coconuts which have a long shelf life are preferred by many northern states
  • Apart from price plunge, the farmers are also reeling under reduced yields due to massive pest attacks

Srikakulam: Prices of coconut fell considerably in the open market directly hitting the earnings of coconut farmers in the district.

Coconut crop is grown in an extent of 60,000 acre in this coastal district. Coconut is mainly being cultivated in Uddanam area in the district which spreads in seven mandals of Itchapuram, Kaviti, Kanchili, Sompeta, Mandasa, Palasa and Vajrapukotturu.

The crop is also being cultivated in coastal mandals along the coast across the district.

Srikakulam coconut has a good demand in Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and other northern states. Coconut of Srikakulam variety can be stored months together without any damage which is the main factor for the people of northern states preferring this variety.

Against the backdrop of reduced demand for coconut, its prices too came down proportionately in the open market. The export of coconuts from Srikakulam has also come down drastically in recent times.

At present price, the price of 1,000 coconuts is Rs 8,000, which is a record plunge in price, compared with Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 two months ago. Adding to the woes of farmers, coconut yields have also fell due to widespread and massive attack of pests.

A farmer needs to invest Rs 40,000 for cultivation of coconut in one acre, but with current prevailing conditions in the market he can earn only Rs 25,000 by selling the crop.

Coconut farmers are demanding both the Central and state governments to implement measures to help farmers withstand market fluctuations.

“The government should purchase the coconuts through its agencies by fixing a minimum support price. This will help farmers to overcome uncertainty in the open market,” said coconut farmers union president B J Prakash.

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