Tiruppur: Wet weather dampens hopes of copra farmers

P Singaram, a farmer from Udumalaipet said they cannot afford the rejections as labour and transportation costs are going up.

Published: 12th May 2022 01:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th May 2022 01:46 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

TIRUPPUR: Damp weather in the region over the last few weeks is posing problems to coconut farmers. Several farmers have been shying away from the copra procurement centres, as officials are rejecting 30% of the produce for discolouration or presence of fungi.

There are more than 62,000 hectares of coconut farms which produce 1.03 crore coconuts in the district. The Tiruppur Market Committee has procured 1,161T and credited `12.30 crore to 867 farmers so far this year. Heeding to requests from farmers, the government has extended the procurement deadline till to July 31 and has set target of 10,000T. But officials of  late have been rejecting the nuts.

C Manoharan a coconut farmer from Kudimangalam said, “I took a load of coconuts to the procurement centre in Tiruppur, but officials rejected around 30% for discoloration and moisture. I had to sell to a private trader. Many farmers are not interested in going to the procurement centre because of this and are selling to private traders.”

A Kalimuthu, president of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, said, “Rains in the last few weeks have brought ,more problems to farmers and copra traders, as moisture gives rise to infection and fungi in coconut and copra.”

P Singaram, a farmer from Udumalaipet said they cannot afford the rejections as labour and transportation costs are going up.

“I have more than 40 acres of coconut farm in Vallakundapuram in Udumalaipet. I have a dehusking machine and drying yard for copra. But, small farmers don’t have such facilities. A drying yard needs 20 cents land. Besides, physical tasks are tedious, so farmers employ labourers, who demand considerable money for work. So they are indirectly forced to send their coconut for drying to another place. Labour costs have increased tremendously. Dehusking and breaking account for Rs 2 per coconut. Besides, loading and unloading costs to procurement centres add to the burden of farmers. These have created more problems than small farmers so they directly sell the coconut or copra to traders for minimum cost.”

Speaking to TNIE, an official in the Tiruppur Market Committee said, “We do not reject fresh copra. The market rate for copra is `80 per kilogram, but MSP is around `105. Some farmers stock copra for 6-8 months hoping to get high price and such copra becomes discoloured and broken. Norms such as moisture (below 7%), fungi and discoloration (2%), Foreign material (0.2 %), and copra chips (1 %) are applicable for both milling and ball copra. The norms are based on directives of NAFED and the State government.”

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