MANGALORE: The price of wet cocoa beans has remained steady during this monsoon, unlike the rainy seasons in the past, thanks to a steady demand for the product from domestic buyers.
Till last year, the price of wet cocoa beans used to touch peak level during summer and decrease during monsoon. This year, however, the high price that the produce reached during summer has not come down till now.
The farmers, who grow cocoa as an inter-crop in arecanut plantations in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Chikmagalur, and parts of Kodagu districts, have benefited from this high price. The period between June and October is considered to be the cocoa “crop season” every year. As the process of drying the wet cocoa beans warrants huge investment, a majority of farmers sell wet beans only. Sources in the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd (CAMPCO) said that the high price of cocoa wet beans in the current rainy season was owing to increase in the demand for them in the domestic market. The companies, which were hitherto importing the dry cocoa beans, had begun procuring it locally since the domestic price was on par with the international price of the product, they said. P. Madhusudhana Rao, Managing Director, CAMPCO, told The Hindu that the cooperative was now procuring wet beans from farmers at a price ranging between Rs. 28 a kg and Rs. 29 a kg. Another large buyer of the product, a private confectionary major, was paying Rs. 2 more a kg to farmers, he said.
Between March and May this year, the CAMPCO had procured wet beans at a price ranging from Rs. 28 a kg to Rs. 33 a kg and had not changed that procurement price till now, he said.