Coconut growers in Mangalore are unhappy with the functioning of copra procurement centres at Arsikere and Channarayapatna.
They allege that centre staff take about 10 kg of copra in the guise of sample-testing and charge extra for loading copra bags into lorries.
Coconut growers were overjoyed when the Centre announced a minimum support price (MSP) for copra and the decision to purchase it through the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) as the dip in yield owing to prolonged drought and the fall in prices had made their lives miserable.
The MSP announced by the Centre was Rs. 5,500 a quintal and the one announce by the State government was Rs. 1,000. Now, growers say that they lose anywhere between Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 by the way of sample-testing and loading charges.
Kumar of Devigere said the staff at the procurement centre in Channarayapatna bagged at least seven to eight kg of copra. “It would have cost around Rs. 455 to Rs. 520. Another staff demanded Rs. 75 to load the bags to the lorry,” he said.
K.M. Nagesh, Deputy Director of Agriculture Marketing, said the district administration had been addressing such complaints.
“The Deputy Commissioner himself gave a direction not to take copra for sample testing. If there are any specific complaints, we will take action,” he said.
The growers have to register their names in advance and copra is purchased on a first-come, first-served basis. But, there have been allegations from farmers that this system is being violated.
The Deputy Commissioner too was informed about it. Mr. Nagesh said they were found to be true and NAFED had been directed to take action against the staff.