Representative Image | Photo: Ramanath Pai
Vadakara: Kerala obtained nod from the central government to continue procurement of copra (dried coconut kernels) at the Minimum Support Price. It has been expected that this would provide relief to the copra market, which is currently choked by the steep decline in price.
The Centre allowed the state to procure copra at MSP of Rs 10,590 in February 2022, for the first time. The state was directed to procure 50,000 tonnes of copra within six months. But the department of Agriculture spared four and a half months due to the technical glitches in confirming the procurement agencies. The actual procurement was carried out only in the last one and a half months. Only 116 tonnes of copra was procured when the time period allotted for the procurement ended on August 1, 2022.
Agriculture department of the state approached the Centre again seeking three more months to continue copra procurement citing the persisting low market price of copra. Tamil Nadu had also requested for the same to the Centre and received permission to carry out copra procurement on August 30. The delay in granting permission to Kerala had evoked protests against the Centre.
The current price of copra remains Rs 8300 per quintal, which is Rs 2290 lower than the MSP. Such a situation has been developed for the first time in Kerala after fixing MSP for copra. The cost of raw coconuts also plummeted with the decline in the copra cost.
Demands have been raised to increase the number of copra procurement centres in the state and to make copra after purchasing coconuts from the farmers, who usually sell raw coconuts.
Earlier, the agriculture department had issued guidelines to procure raw coconuts also through the procurement centres. However, no effective actions followed.