Flowering hit by incessant rain during season

Wet cocoa beans are in short supply, according to the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd (Campco), a principal purchaser of cocoa beans from farmers. According to M. Suresh Bhandary, managing director, Campco, November and December were the second season for the crop in a year, with the period from April to June being the first season.

Raghavendra Bhat, a cocoa and areca grower from Kedila village, Bantwal taluk, said that flowering had been hit in many plantations due to continued rainfall this year.

Farmers, who would have otherwise harvested about 50 kg of wet beans a week, were now harvesting only about 5 kg a week, he said. Flowering had been hit due to excess rainfall that continued till mid-October both in Karnataka and Kerala. As there was delayed flowering, the plants were yet to yield cocoa fruits. Hence there was a decline in the supply of wet cocoa beans.

Mr. Bhandary said that usually when the second crop season ended in December or in mid-January the cooperative would get about 4,000 tonnes of wet beans from second season alone. But, as of now, this year the cooperative had got only about 800 tonnes of beans from farmers since November. This included beans procured from some farmers in Andhra Pradesh. He said that Campco’s procurement price of wet beans now stood at Rs. 45 per kg. Last year, coca beans during the same season were purchased at Rs. 35 per kg.

Mr. Bhandary said that the domestic procurement price of dry cocoa beans now stood at Rs.200 (basic price) a kg, whereas last year it was Rs. 170 a kg during the same season last year. Usually, when the season began, the price fell. But this year the prices were up due to short supply, he said and added that the import price of dry beans now stood at about Rs. 220 a kg.

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