Increase procurement price for copra, say coconut farmers

Members of the Tamil Nadu Coconut Farmers Association staged a demonstration here on Tuesday, pressing a charter of demands, including enhancing the procurement price for copra – both ball copra and milling copra to ₹130 per kg, and establishing a Coconut Development Board in the State.

Led by Samy Natarajan, Association State Secretary, coconut farmers staged the protest in front of the Collectorate as part of a state-wide agitation and presented a memorandum to Collector K. Veera Raghava Rao, urging him to take up their demands with the government.

Mr. Natarajan said the procurement price of ₹99.20 per kg for ball copra and ₹95.21 per kg for milling copra announced by the Centre should be uniformly raised to ₹130 per kg as farmers produced milling copra in most of the districts in the State. The government proposed to procure 45,000 tonnes of milling copra and 5,000 tonnes of ball copra from the State, he pointed out.

Stating that coconut farmers suffered huge loss due to drought in several districts, he urged the government to announce compensation of ₹10,000 per wilted tree and protect the interest of the farmers. They should also be helped to set up drip irrigation system with 100% subsidy, he said.

He said the Coconut Development Board (CDB) at Kochi was of no benefit to the Tamil Nadu farmers and demanded an exclusive CDB for farmers in Tamil Nadu, the largest producer of coconuts in the country.

P. Kalyanasundaram, association district president, said farmers cultivated coconut in 8,646 hectares in the district and the government proposed to procure 1,500 milling copra. The procurement would be remunerative to the farmers only if the government hiked the procurement price to ₹130 per kg, he said.

Meanwhile, the government has opened procurement centre at Thirupuvanam block in Sivaganga district to procure milling copra following demand from local farmers. The centre would procure copra till November 2019 and farmers could benefit, Collector J Jayakanthan said.

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