Despite the fluctuations in the prices of coconut at periodic intervals, the acreage under the crop has been interestingly on a rise in the district for the past many years. From 51,748 hectares registered during 2011-12 financial year, the area coverage of coconut in the district has risen to 53,660 ha in 2012-13 fiscal and to 56,404 ha in 2013-14 fiscal.
The acreage stood at 56,807.8 ha by 2015. In the price front, the farmers are now getting on an average of only about Rs.6 to Rs.7 for a nut against Rs. 12 obtained for a harvested nut.
The price realisation of copra too has been dwindling for quite sometime. “More and more farmers are still opting for coconut is because of the reality that the raising of the crop needed lesser labour as well as maintenance works like removal of weeds, pulverisation of soil and in situ ploughing vis-a-vis many seasonal/annual crops.
“Considering these aspects, many farmers are thinking on the lines that even if the prices fall a bit they can attain sustainable income without facing any operational losses for a long period due to its perennial nature”, pointed out P. Santhanakrishnan, a coconut farmer who had earlier served as Joint Director of Agriculture in Tirupur.
Many farmers have now started floating consortium to market both raw coconut and value-added products tapping the prospects outside the State and the country.
S. Selvaraj, who had floated a coconut farmers’ producer company in 2015 as a joint initiative with many hundreds of fellow farmers from Udumalpet and Madathukulam areas, feels that attractive incentives given through Coconut Development Board specifically for area expansion was also contributing to the enhancement of the acreage.