Coconut farmers plan Raj Bhavan Chalo agitation tomorrow

Published - October 01, 2023 07:53 pm IST - MYSURU

Coconut farmers of Karnataka supported by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) have planned a Raj Bhavan Chalo agitation on Tuesday seeking a minimum support price (MSP) of ₹20,000 per quintal from the Centre and an additional incentive of ₹5,000 per quintal from the State government.

KRRS leader Badagalapura Nagendra said the coconut farmers in the State were in sheer distress over the collapse in the price of copra from ₹18,000 per quintal to a mere ₹7,000 per quintal over the last five to six years.

Attributing the collapse in prices to the anti-farmer import-export policy of the Centre, Mr. Nagendra said India was importing palm oil from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand and soya oil from Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine. The Centre was importing even coconut oil from Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi and Thailand, he alleged while claiming that the demand for coconut products in India had come down because of these imports, leading to a collapse in prices of copra.

National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) was restricting its purchase of copra to just a quarter of the total output by citing poor quality. Large quantities of copra is rejected by the NAFED, causing injustice to farmers, he alleged.

Though the Horticulture Department had recommended a support price of ₹16,700 per quintal, the Centre was not implementing the recommendation, he lamented.

Though the coconut farmers took to the streets and protested against their negligence, there has been no response. The State government has announced a support price of a mere ₹ 1,250 per quintal, he lamented.

With no option left, the coconut farmers under the aegis of the Co-ordination Committee of the Coconut Farmers of Karnataka will congregate at Freedom Park at 11 a.m. on October 3 for the Raj Bhavan Chalo programme.

Apart from increasing the minimum support price by the Centre to ₹ 20,000 per quintal of copra and an additional incentive of ₹ 5,000 by the State government, the farmers are demanding an immediate halt to the import of edible oils and coconut products.

The other demands include procurement of copra by the Government under the Market Intervention Scheme by opening procurement centres in all hoblis and compulsory use of coconut oil in Centre and State government-run industries.

The farmers have also demanded NAFED to purchase the entire quantity of copra produced by the farmers.

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