Special Correspondent

Government must procure nuts directly from farmers: forum

THANJAVUR: The Coconut Farmers’ Association of Thanjavur district has appealed to the State Government to do away with the permit system with respect to copra procurement in the State.

In a representation to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, the president of the association A. Palanivel said that the system, followed only in Tamil Nadu, had come in the way of coconut farmers getting a good price for their nuts.

The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices had recommended increasing the price for one kilo of copra to Rs. 44 from Rs. 36 four years back, taking into consideration the fall in price of copra and to help coconut farmers. Accordingly a nut should sell at Rs.5 in the State now. But the price had not crossed Rs. 3.50. This is the situation in spite of the price rice recommended by the commission, because of the copra permit system followed in the State.

Copra card

“As per the system, only those farmers who had copra cards can sell their copra in Government procurement centres. But 70 per cent of the coconut farmers in Pattukottai and Peravurani area in Thanjavur district do not have copra cards, because of the cumbersome procedure to get them. This system offsets the price benefit given by the Centre to the farmers of Tamil Nadu.”

“The Government should procure coconuts directly from farmers and take steps to convert it into copra and sell them as it does for paddy,” he said. Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation procures paddy from farmers and convert it into rice for its use. Copra is procured through cooperative organisations in Kerala, Palanivel said.

He also alleged that some biscuit companies were procuring copra at Rs. 32 a kilo from farmers. They should be made to purchase copra for Rs. 44 a kilo under Consumer Protection Act.

He also said that in Tamil Nadu, not even 10 per cent of copra has so far been procured. In Pattukottai and Peravurani areas only 100 tonnes had been procured.