BENGALURU: The recent truckers’ strike and successive droughts over the last two years have led to coconut prices rising while the production has dipped by more than half. In the last 10 days, the price of a coconut has been hovering anywhere between Rs 35 and Rs 38 from the earlier Rs 33 and it is expected to increase further.
Karnataka is the third largest coconut-growing state after Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Annually, about 512.88 crore coconuts are produced in the state in 5.49 lakh hectares. The districts of Tumakuru, Hassan, Dakshina Kannada, Chikkamagaluru and Chitradurga together account for more than 85 per cent of coconut-growing area in the state.
Raghu H, who grows coconuts at their plantation at Channarayapatna in Hassan district, and also sells them at wholesale prices at Jeevan Bima Nagar in the city says, “On an average, each tree yields 200 coconuts a year, which has now reduced to 60. Naturally, the price will shoot up. But the quality and the size has not changed,’’ he said. According to him, the price may even cross Rs 40 per coconut soon.
Manjunatha Swamy, who sells tender coconuts at Vijayanagar, said the price of a tender coconut was Rs 30 a few days ago and has touched Rs 35 now.
Sridhar Bhat of SLV Events said with the prices of coconut increasing, many cannot afford it for ‘tambula’ at auspicious occasions. “We are giving musambis and mangoes instead of coconuts. The smaller coconuts too are selling at Rs 20 a piece at wholesale prices, which is still too high to give out with tambula at weddings,’’ he said.
Chandrashekar Hebbar, who runs Anna Kuteera hotel and is president of Bruhat Bengaluru Hoteliers Association, said they need at least 50 coconuts a day to prepare chutney and other dishes. “We cannot compromise on taste, so we are left with no choice but to increase the prices by 20 per cent.’’ He added that the prices of milk, curds and ghee had increased too.
According to Hemachandra, Deputy Director, Karnataka Coconut Board, there is 60 per cent less yield of coconuts in the state. Each tree needs 50-75 litres of water per day. “Growers were using flood irrigation system. We, with Horticulture department, are advising farmers to adopt drip irrigation to reduce water wastage. We will have to wait till July for reduction of price when fresh crop comes.”