Heavy rains that lashed Kerala in the past two months may lead to an increase in coconut yield in the state, which is the top producer of the nut in the country.
While excessive rainfall wreaked havoc on plantation crops and paddy fields in Kerala, coconut trees seem to have suffered relatively less damage. This may be because maximum destruction by floods happened in the districts which had low production of coconuts.
“Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kasargod are the top three coconut producing districts in the state. Except some damage in Malappuram due to floods, coconut trees have not suffered major damage. Heavy rains will certainly increase coconut yields,’’ said VC Vasanthakumar, statistical officer, Coconut Development Board (CDB).
The next two among top producer districts, Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur, also suffered minimal damage from floods. Kerala accounted for 744.8 crore out of the 2,390 crore nuts produced in the country in 2016-17, as per the latest data of CDB. Karnataka, which became the second biggest producer overtaking Tamil Nadu, has also received good rains, which augur well for coconut output. Tamil Nadu has slipped to the third place due to successive droughts. The three states and Andhra Pradesh together account for 92% of the country’s coconut output.
Already, prices of coconut, tender coconut and coconut oil have started falling. “Coconut prices dropped Rs 10 to Rs 30 per kg. But prices may increase with demand hardening with the arrival of Sabarimala pilgrimage season. Coconuts will be cheaper next summer as the yield will increase,’’ said P Vinod Kumar, chairman of Palakkad Coconut Producer Company Ltd.
Tender coconuts have become cheaper by Rs 10 per kg from last summer, at Rs 18 a kg, said T Sathish, managing director of Agricoles Naturel Foods, which sells packaged tender coconut water.
Coconut oil prices have also eased after the heavy rains. Wholesale prices fell to Rs 150 per kg from 210 per kg during summer. The runaway rise in coconut oil prices owing to shortage of coconuts had hit sales and paved the way for rampant adulteration
“Kerala will have a good crop. The coconut growing areas in Tamil Nadu like Pollachi too have received good rains which may spur production,’’ said Sunny Francis, director of KLF Nirmal Industries, a coconut oil producer.