Tamil Nadu

Opening of copra procurement centres brings cheer to coconut growers

The price of copra has gone up in the open markets in several parts of Salem district.—Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

The price of copra has gone up in the open markets in several parts of Salem district.—Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan  

The opening of two direct copra procurement centres in the district has pushed up the price in the open markets in several parts of the region.

The State Government opened copra procurement centres at Vazhappadi and Attur in the district recently. While the centre at Vazhappadi functions on every Thursdays, the Attur procurement centre functions on Mondays.

The initiative has come under the TANFED (Tamil Nadu Co-operative Marketing Federation). The opening of both the centres has come to the rescue of the coconut farmers of the district, who were suffering financial loss due to the crash in the price of copra in a big way. The minimum support price has resulted in the substantial benefit to cultivators in the district where coconut trees stood on 13,929 hectares.

The price of copra remained well below Rs. 50 per kg in the open markets in the western districts, much to the anxiety of the entire farming community. The announcement of the Chief Minister of opening the direct procurement centres came as a big relief to them.

The Government announced a procurement price of Rs. 59.50 per kg for the milling copra and Rs. 62.40 per kg for the ball copra at the direct procurement centres. This had a telling impact, as the procurement price rose to more than Rs. 57 per kg in the open markets instantly. The Perundurai and the Avalpoonthurai, both in Erode districts, are the two major coconut/copra open markets in the western region.

The price in both these markets has remained constant between Rs. 56 and Rs. 57 for the past few days, according to official sources here.

The response for the centres which was initially not very encouraging has been steadily picking up. The main reason for the not so encouraging response was that a majority of the coconut groves have been given on lease. So, the farmers cannot take a decision on the crop yield.

Moreover, the cooperation department insists on the identity cards provided by the Agriculture Department, and certificates from the VAO on the ownership of the groves for collecting the copra in the centres. Of late, many farmers are said to have got the ID cards from the agriculture department.

Another problem faced by the farmers is the insistence on quality of the copra at the direct procurement centres.

The cooperation department sources said that the persistence on the ID card is to ensure that the project benefited only the real farmers and not the traders and middlemen. As far as the quality is concerned, the department is supposed to procure the copra after verifying the quality as per the NAFED (National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) standards.

A senior Cooperation department official said that efforts have been taken to create awareness among the coconut farmers on the benefit of the centres through the primary agricultural cooperative societies.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 3:02:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Opening-of-copra-procurement-centres-brings-cheer-to-coconut-growers/article14474846.ece

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