Staff Correspondent

It has increased by five per cent in just one month

MANGALORE: The price of wet cocoa beans here has further shot up to Rs. 42 a kg, the highest this year.

With this, the price has gone up by five per cent in just one month. Wet cocoa beans fetched Rs. 40 in mid-November.

The Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (CAMPCO) Ltd. here has been procuring wet beans at Rs. 42 a kg since the past fortnight, A.S. Bhat, Executive Director, CAMPCO, told The Hindu.

Short-supply

The supply and demand factor in the domestic market has been pushing the price up in recent months. Wet cocoa beans are not available in required quantities in the domestic market.

The procurement rate hovered between Rs. 28 and Rs. 29 between March and September. Later, it shot up to Rs. 36 a kg in October to reach Rs. 40 a kg in mid-December.

Inter-crop

Cocoa is grown as an inter-crop in areca nut plantations in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Shimoga, parts of Chikmagalur, Kodagu and Uttara Kannada districts.

Mr. Bhat said CAMPCO had been distributing over one lakh cocoa seedlings to farmers annually for the past three years. This year also it had distributed over one lakh seedlings since June. Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts produced over 1,000 tonnes of cocoa beans annually, he added.

Cocoa beans were mainly used to make chocolates, in addition to some facial make-up products, he said.

Mr. Bhat said cocoa arrivals between December and February-end were less as these months were not the yielding season. “Fresh crop will arrive from March,” he added.

The CAMPCO procured 5,038.65 tonnes of wet beans valued at Rs. 1,337.18 lakh from farmers, in 2008-09. The dry beans purchased stood at 888.95 tonnes, valued at Rs. 914.57 lakh. Its chocolate factory at Puttur consumed 2,449.24 tonnes of dry beans during the last financial year.

More In: KARNATAKA | NATIONAL