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Copra fetches a good price in Tumkur

By Our Staff Correspondent

TUMKUR, MAY 6. Copra was sold in the price range of Rs. 5,500 to Rs. 5,600 per quintal in the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) yard at Tiptur in Tumkur district on Thursday.

The APMC Secretary, T.C. Girish, told The Hindu after the closing hours of the market that the price was about Rs. 6,000 per quintal of copra on Wednesday. He said the prices always ruled higher on Wednesdays and Saturdays as these were "shandy days" for the market. Any price above Rs. 4,500 per quintal was deemed a fair price for the commodity, he added.

Mr. Girish said that experts in copra trade had predicted that the price of the commodity would increase to Rs. 6,500 per quintal.

The reason for the increase in prices, according to him, was that the coconut yield was declining considerably because coconut palms continued to be under attack from mites. Besides, there was no rainfall in the region in the past three years. "A farmer who used to harvest 50,000 coconuts per season hardly gets 10,000 now. However, his net income from the produce will remain unaltered due to the rise in the price,'' Mr. Girish said.

He said that though the recorded price was about Rs. 6,000, traders had a practice of paying farmers an additional Rs. 200 to Rs. 500 per quintal under an agreement. Nine months ago, the copra market was quite dull and there was a need for the Government to intervene. A support price of Rs. 3,500 per quintal was fixed. However, the market had improved with the rising demand for copra and the steep fall in supply.

Mr. Girish said the demand would increase from June and reach a peak around Deepavali. "There is no need for the Government to intervene in the market,'' he added.

Good rainfall: The coconut belt in the district has received good rainfall in the past four days. Tiptur received 15.6 mm rain, Turuvekere 21.2 mm, C.N. Halli 4.5 mm, Gubbi 16.5 mm, and Tumkur 15.7 mm. The average rainfall in the district has been put at 13.6 mm. The rain is expected to help control the mites menace to an extent.

Coconut traders from the Tiptur market were known to have catered to the demand for copra all over the world in the past. This year, they have hardly been able to meet demand in the State.

The increase in the price of the copra due to the big gap between supply and demand has to be properly channelised for the benefit of farmers, and the Government has to play its role in this regard.

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