While there are large tracts of coconut farms at Kottampatti, Sholavandan and other places in Madurai district, sellers bring the nuts from Pollachi for the superior taste.
Tender coconut, the perfect answer to beat the rising mercury level in summer, has become a lavish indulgence.
It is sold at Rs. 40 to Rs. 50 for the one with “more water.” While there are large tracts of coconut farms at Kottampatti, Sholavandan and other places in Madurai district, sellers bring the nuts from Pollachi for the superior taste. Lack of rainfall has, however, resulted in an increase of procurement price. Tender coconuts, which were procured at Rs. 28 and Rs. 32 are now being bought at Rs. 35 each, resulting in high selling price and fewer customers, vendors say.
“At least 60 per cent of the lands under coconut cultivation in Pollachi have come down. With the yield decreasing year after year, the procurement rates had raised which has directly affected our selling price,” rues N. Ganapathy, a vendor at Anna Nagar. “Many farmers there prefer to sell the nuts to oil industries who buy at Rs. 90 a kg. Since there is not much yield, they are ready to even pay Rs. 120,” he says.
Another vendor, A. Shanthi, who sits at her shop outside the Collectorate, says there were days when she used to sell 150 tender coconuts. But she barely manages to sell around 75 coconuts a day now. “People prefer buying the country variety of coconuts which don’t have a polished outer surface like the ones we sell, since they are priced only at Rs. 20. They merely contain 250 ml of water and are not as nutritious as ours,” she says.
While the vendors believe that the prices are sure to shoot up further in the coming days as the yield further dwindles, customers are left with no choice.
“As we turn towards coconut water as a healthy alternative to aerated drinks to beat the heat, the price is exorbitant when compared to last year,” says L. Kumari, a resident of Melamadai.