Ernakulam district still has a long way to go if it has to catch up with the performance of its neighbouring districts like Thrissur and Alappuzha in the the implementation of the Coconut Producers’ Society programme.
While Alappuzha and Thrissur have already formed over 200 producers’ society, the district still has just 64. The Coconut Producers Society (CPS) programme is the initiative of Coconut Development Board (CDB).
Under the programme, which is one of the most ambitious projects of the CDB, as many as 40-100 coconut growers in a contiguous area join together to form a producers’ society.
The main aim of the society is to bring about collective farming of large areas of land under coconut cultivation. Through the collective farming system, farmers will be able to share equipment, resources and labour besides marketing their products effectively.
Though the project has picked up in most parts of the state with as many as 1,895 producers’ societies being formed in the matter of a few years, districts like Ernakulam are left far behind.
Out of the 1,895 registered units, only 64 are from the district. While its neighbouring districts like Thrissur and Alappuzha rank second and third in the number of producers societies, Ernakulam is left far behind. Its Southern neighbours too share the same fate, Kottayam has just six societies while Pathanamthitta and Idukki has just four and thirteen.
One of the major reasons for the low number of societies is the declining number of land area under coconut cultivation in the district. In the last decade from 2000-2001 to 2010-2011, area under coconut cultivation has been on a the decline. While there was 67,402 hectares of area under coconut cultivation in 2000-01, by 2010-11 this had declined to 42,894 hectares.
“The area under coconut cultivation is low in the district. In many parts, coconut cultivation has been replaced by rubber. Apart from this, there is a lack of initiative among the farmers, leading to the low registration. In areas where the Krishi Bhavans concerned and the panchayats are active, there has been an improvement in the numbers. We are taking steps to improve the numbers in areas like Vypeen, Paravoor and Kothamangalam,” said Leenamol MA, who is the district in charge of CPS.