SRIKAKULAM: After the devastation of severe cyclonic storm Titli, coconut farmers of Uddanam region in the district are now being thoroughly exploited by middlemen, who are offering a mere Rs 2 per nut. Prior to Titli, the farmers got a price of Rs 15 per coconut. The cyclonic storm-ravaged coconut orchards in Uddanam.
About 3 lakh coconut trees were uprooted and a large number of coconuts fell from trees due to strong gales. Taking advantage of the situation, the middlemen have brought down the coconut prices drastically. The hapless coconut farmers are left with no other option except accepting the meagre price offered by the middlemen.
“I have a coconut orchard in two acres of land at Gonapaputtuga village in Kaviti mandal. Almost all the coconut trees in the orchard were uprooted due to the cyclonic storm. The devastation of orchards has resulted in a sudden slump in the market price for coconut produce. I sold my produce at Rs 2 per nut despite a heavy loss as there is no other option left for me. All the coconut farmers in Uddanam have incurred severe loss,” rued G Rambabu, a coconut farmer.
Titli: Middlemen exploiting helpless coconut farmers
The middlemen who used to pay advance to farmers to procure the coconut produce earlier are now refusing to buy coconuts, adding to the misery of horticulturists. Some farmers, who are not inclined to sell their produce at a meagre price, are shifting it to nearby markets in autos and tractors with a hope of getting a better price. But there also, the price for coconuts is not encouraging.
“I have a coconut orchard in half acre. More than 80 per cent of coconut trees were uprooted due to the cyclone. I took the fallen coconuts to the nearby market where I got a price of Rs 3 per nut,” said G Rajeswara Rao, a farmer of Kojjiriya village in Kaviti mandal.
District Collector K Dhananjaya Reddy said that horticulture crops, mostly coconut and cashew trees, in 1,453 hectares were badly ravaged due to the cyclone. The State has fixed a compensation of Rs 1,200 per each uprooted coconut tree. A compensation of Rs 25,000 per hectare will be paid to cashew farmers for the crop loss incurred by them. Survey teams have been deployed in the affected mandals to assess the crop loss. After enumeration, compensation will be paid to the affected farmers, he added.