The State government has issued orders for the construction of a coconut marketing complex at Pattukottai in Thanjavur district at a cost of Rs. four crore.

The Engineering Wing of the Agriculture Marketing Committee will execute the project, marketing committee officials told ‘The Hindu’ here on Friday.

The complex will have a drying yard, rest rooms for farmers to stay, a godown, shops for farmers to sell coconuts, a quality control wing, an administrative block, canteen and parking space. “It will be a full-fledged marketing complex,” the officials said.

The complex will be constructed on 20 acres of land at Ponnvarayankadu near Pattukottai. When it comes into existence, it will be a boon for the coconut farmers of that area. In Thanjavur district, coconut is cultivated on 68,000 acres by nearly 75,000 farmers. Two lakh farm labourers are also involved in coconut cultivation and production.

The coconut farmers have been facing the problem of fluctuation in price for both the nut and copra, lack of facilities for converting the nut into copra and lack of storage facilities. The complex may help them in solving these problems.

S.S. Palani Manickam, Union Minister of State for Finance, who was instrumental in getting the order issued said the complex will provide a solar drier and machine drier facilities to the farmers. The State government is procuring copra from them now through co-operatives. Pattukottai Agriculture Produce Co-operative Sales Society is procuring copra from the farmers now. Identity cards have been issued to them. After the inauguration of the complex, farmers can sell their produce at the complex.

Coconut farmers of Pattukottai and Peravurani welcomed the government order and appealed to the marketing committee to complete the construction work as early as possible.

Veerasena, a coconut farmer of Ponnavarayankadu, welcomed the government order and said that a long felt need of the coconut farmers of Pattukottai and Peravurani was fulfilled by the government. Though the government agreed to set up the complex in 1996, orders have been issued only now. “We can now go for value added products also,” he said.