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City Loosens Its Purse Strings for the Love of Ellu Bella

As the festive spirit sets in, customers are getting a rough deal in the markets with coconut prices going up

Published: 15th January 2015 05:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th January 2015 05:58 AM   |  A+A-

The-Kempegowda-Bus-Station

BENGALURU: It is a pricey Sankranthi for Bengalureans this year, with the cost of coconut, copra and various coconut products going through the roof. Coconuts are being sold at almost Rs 30 a piece and dry coconuts at Rs 200 a kilogram. Cut copra pieces used in the ellu bella mixture are priced around Rs 480 a kg.

At Horticultural Producers’ Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society (HOPCOMS) outlets, a big coconut is being sold for Rs 28 a piece, and a medium-sized one for Rs 23. M Vinod, a farmer from Chikkanayakanahalli near Tumakuru who owns a shop named ‘Thengu Mane’ in Rajajinagar, told Express that for the past one month, he has been selling small coconuts for Rs 16, medium-sized ones for Rs 23 and big ones for Rs 27. According to him, the prices have shot up because of low yield.

“In well-irrigated lands like the Maddur belt, coconut trees give a yield of 200 to 250 and in non-irrigated lands like (those) in Chitradurga, Hosadurga and other districts, it will be around 120-150 a year. But because of poor rain in the last 2-3 years, the yield in non-irrigated lands has fallen to 70-80,” he said.

Naveen, who owns ‘Mangala Coconut Service’ on Magadi Road, said he grows coconuts at a village near Dobbaspet, Bengaluru Rural. He said because of the fall in yield, he has already exhausted his supply and is now buying coconuts from wholesalers to run his shop.

Fall in Import

Prashanth of ‘Raghavendra Traders’ in Shivajinagar said earlier, his shop used to sell big coconuts for Rs 13, but now they are priced at Rs 19. Because of poor rain, the import from Tamil Nadu too has fallen, he added.

Mohammed Khalandar Pasha, of Taj Sales Corporation, said he buys copra in bulk from Tiptur market in Tumakuru district. The rate was Rs 13,500 a quintal last month; now, it is Rs 14,300 a quintal. “We procure coconuts through auction and sell them to wholesalers for Rs 150 a kg. The wholesalers sell them to the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) for Rs 160, from where retailers buy them for Rs 175 a kg. But the retailers sell according to their whims and fancies. The rate can go up to Rs 250 a kg,” Pasha said.

Meanwhile, the price of copra pieces, which was Rs 260 a kg last year, has risen to around Rs 450. A store in Nagarbhavi is selling them for Rs 480 a kg, as opposed to Rs 320 last year.

However, this doesn’t seem to have dampened the festive spirit. According to a shopkeeper in Gandhi Bazaar, there has been no fall in demand and people seem willing to shell out the price quoted. Vyjayanthi Rao, a homemaker, told Express, “Sankranthi comes once a year and we distribute ellu bella once a year. The rise in prices will not stop anyone from celebrating.”



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