Kerala coconut farmers in dire straits
Thiruvananthapuram: The agrarian sector in Kerala has taken a hit with coconut wholesalers and those at Kozhikode taking the biggest beating as around three million coconuts are piled up in the market, unable to be transported to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Kozhikode is one of the biggest coconut markets for green coconuts and on an average every day from here 50 lorries laden with around six lakh coconuts leave for the two neighbouring states.
"For the past five days, no loads have gone from here and this spells trouble for the farmers. Things are going to be bad as these have a very short shelf life," said a leading trader.
For the traders what has now become a problem is storage of the coconuts that have already been procured from local vendors.
The shelf life of husked coconuts is maximum a week and hence not only are they taking fresh delivery from local vendors, they are worried about what to do with the ones that they have with them.
These coconuts make their way to the neighbouring states and are turned into oil. Now with other forms of cooking oil, especially imported ones, being unlikely to be available on account of Covid-19 the coconut farmers who were expecting good business are in for bad times.
However the traders are hoping against hope that with movement of commodities being allowed, they expect to prevail upon the authorities to move their supplies.
The total area under coconut cultivation in India is 20.96 lakh hectares of which Kerala alone accounts for 7.60 lakh hectares.
Kerala stands first in the production of coconuts at 5,230 million nuts as against 23,798 million nuts in the country.