Coconut growers gather in panic in large numbers to register for copra procurement

Many growers stood in queues for hours and some slept on the premises of APMC market on Sunday night

March 04, 2024 09:49 pm | Updated 09:50 pm IST - Shivamogga

Hundreds of farmers on Monday stood in queues at APMC markets in Hassan district to register their names for ball copra procurement at the support price. Even though the registration process was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, many reached the registration counters as early as Sunday afternoon.

The growers stood in queue for hours in Channarayapatna and many slept on the premises of the market on Sunday night, as they were not ready to miss any chance.

There were around 2,000 growers in the queue in Channarayapatna by 7 a.m. on the day. The scene was similar at Arasikere, Nuggehalli, S.Belgola and other centres. The district administration deployed policemen to handle the crowd at these centres.

Following the dip in the price of copra in the open market, the Centre granted permission to procure 69,250 tonnes from the growers of Karnataka at the support price of ₹12,000 per quintal. The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation procures copra through the Karnataka State Cooperative Marketing Federation. At the rate of six quintals per acre, from each farmer, a maximum of 15 quintals can be procured. As part of the procedure, the growers have to register their names with relevant records.

Why fresh registration

Earlier, the registration was scheduled for February 5. Surprisingly, the process ended within the first three days as the quantity of copra registered for procurement crossed the allotted limit.

There were allegations that instead of farmers, it was the traders who registered in large numbers in that short span of time. The growers staged protests, alleging irregularities in the whole process. They suspected the involvement of officers with the traders.

MLAs representing the coconut growing areas raised the issue during the recently concluded legislature session as well. Finally, a fresh request was announced on March 4, cancelling the old one.

Registration is done between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. In a day, the officials can register a maximum of 250 growers, if there is no breakdown of the network or delay in scanning. However, the number of farmers gathered is several hundred.

Srihari, Deputy Director of Agricultural Marketing at Hassan, told The Hindu, “The farmers are in panic, as in the previous case the process ended within three days. They do not want to miss the chance this time. A large number of people are gathering at centres. The staff can register a maximum of 250 people a day.”

Of the 69,250 tonnes to be procured, the quota allotted for Hassan district is 17,500 tonnes. “The registration process will end automatically when the quantity of copra that growers offer through this process crosses this limit. Hence, the farmers are in a hurry,” the officer said.

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