There are over 20 lakh coconut trees in 2.5 lakh acres
Coconut growers in the region are upset at Tamil Nadu being left out of the budgetary announcement of a rejuvenation scheme for coconut farms. It was mentioned in the proposal that Rs. 75 crore would be provided for replanting and rejuvenating coconut crop in Kerala and the Andamans.
Pollachi region is known as the coconut belt of Tamil Nadu and farms are spread over Coimbatore and Tirupur revenue districts also. Close to 2.5 lakh acres have over 20 lakh coconut trees.
T.A. Krishnasamy Gounder of Pollachi, who is the president of the United Coconut Growers of Southern Region, criticised the decision to extend the project only to Kerala and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. “It was most unfortunate that the Union Finance Minister, who hails from Tamil Nadu, has chosen to ignore the interests of coconut growers from his own State,” he lamented. The failure of South-West and North-East monsoon, inadequate water for irrigation under the Parambikulam Aliyar Project, pest attack, and unviable prices for coconut and copra were already tormenting the coconut growers. Under such circumstances, the State being excluded from the benefits of the scheme came as a shock, he added.
K. Paramasivam, Chairman of the Tirumurthy Reservoir – PAP Irrigation Scheme, pointed out that of the four lakh acres under the PAP scheme, only two lakh acres under ayacut zone II and III got some benefits through the irrigation scheme, while crops on two lakh acres under zones I and IV were withering for want of water.
Pest attack, no hike in copra procurement price and falling prices of coconut had already left the coconut growers in distress. The Ministry should enhance the allocation for the project and include Tamil Nadu, he added.