The coconut farmers here have demanded the State government to procure coconut from them as the copra procurement scheme has not helped to get even Rs. 3 per nut.
Deesheeya Karshaka Samajam general secretary Muthalamthode Mani has told The Hindu here on Wednesday that copra procurement in the district is ‘a farce’ because during the last two months only 2,575 quintal of copra was procured from the district through five co-operative societies.
The copra is procured by the co-operative societies of Thrithala, Perumatty, Alanallur and the co-operative marketing societies of Chittur and Ottapalam.
Mr. Mani said the farmers will not be able to make copra as it needs dryers and other facilities. Unless good quality is ensured, copra will not fetch a good price.
When the Perumatty Service Co-operative Society bought coconut from farmers and made it into copra, they sustained losses because Kerafed, the procuring agency, had returned the copra as the quantity was not sufficient. The copra was sent by the society only after Kerafed approved the sample, he said.
Since most of the farmers have small holdings, they do not have dryers and other facilities to convert coconut into copra. Thus the procurement agencies should buy coconut from the farmers which is the only way to help the farmers.
The Central government had announced that the procurement agencies can also buy coconut from farmers, but the procurement agencies have not done so.
He said that Palakkad district is one of the major coconut producing areas in the State. It has more than 60,000 hectares of land producing more than 500 million coconuts annually. In light of this, procuring just 2,575 quintals is not going to help the farmers in anyway, Mr. Mani said.
He said the Central government announced that it would buy 50,000 tonnes of copra from the State to help its coconut farmers.
But the assigned procurement agencies like Nafed and Kerafed have failed to implement the procurement scheme that would have helped farmers get a reasonable price.
With the failure of copra procurement farmers are not attracting buyers for coconuts even at the lowest ever price of less than Rs.3 per nut, Mr. Mani said.