After about a decade, coconut growers in Karnataka are getting a good price for their produce even though decreased yield has also been one of the factors for increase in price. These days, they get Rs. 7 to Rs. 8 per coconut compared to the Rs. 5 for the past 10 years.
Interacting with The Hindu on the sidelines of the National Conference and Cocofest 2011 here on Wednesday, K.B. Dundi, Joint Director (Plantation Crops and Plant Protection), State Horticulture Department, said the decrease in yield was mainly due to negligence of farmers.
“The majority of coconut growers in the State have not been taking plantation work seriously. Neither is there proper irrigation nor adequate manure and other inputs at periodical intervals. This has naturally brought down the yield,” Mr. Dundi said.
“They must have lost interest in cultivation and may be content with whatever produce they get naturally,” he said.
Mr. Dundi felt that it was high time that coconut growers in the State looked at mixed cultivation to enhance their income. Growers in neighbouring Kerala, besides ensuring adequate irrigation to the plantation, have gone in for cultivating cardamom, plantain, pepper and other commercial crops, which can grow alongside coconut trees.
Though some of the progressive farmers in Karnataka too have adopted this method, large coconut growing areas in Tumkur, Tiptur and surrounding areas are yet to adopt this method.
About 4.7 lakh hectares of land in the State is under coconut cultivation and the output is about 59,000 lakh nuts every year, he added.