Tamil Nadu Farmers Break Coconuts, Protest Falling Prices
AIKS Tamil Nadu secretary Samy Natarajan participates in a protest by coconut farmers in Tanjore. Image courtesy: Natarajan.
Tamil Nadu coconut farmers are in dire straits due to the fruit’s falling prices. They broke coconuts and held protests in more than 50 places across Tamil Nadu on July 12 urging state ministers to raise their voices in Parliament to stop the fall in coconut prices.
The protest, held on behalf of the Coconut Farmers’ Association, affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Vivasaya Sangam (AIKS), urged the Centre to purchase additional copra and increase its procurement price. The protesters also demanded that the state government provide incentives to farmers who sell copra coconuts.
Traders are not procuring coconut due to the decrease in prices. Therefore, coconut farmers urged the Union government to fix the price of husked coconut at Rs 50 per kg and copra at Rs 140 per kg.
The protesters also want the Centre to procure coconuts directly from farmers and give them the money within seven days of purchase.
The Union government should also ban the import of palm oil and sunflower oil from foreign countries and take immediate action to sell coconut oil through ration shops under the PDS to benefit farmers, they added.
Besides, subsidised fertilisers and pesticides should be provided for coconut saplings and coconut trees should be insured, the farmers said.
‘PROVIDE COCONUT OIL IN PDS’
The Tamil Nadu government should take steps to sell coconut oil through the PDS so that coconut oil can be used for cooking as the state produces plenty of coconuts, the farmers said.
“Some doctors and others are spreading false propaganda that coconut oil is rich in fat. Consequently, coconut oil is avoided in cooking. People of Kerala and Sri Lanka have been using coconut oil exclusively for cooking—and they are healthy,” saidAIKS state president P Shanmugam.
AIKS Tamil Nadu president P Shanmugam participates in the protest in Tirupur. Image courtesy: Samy Natarajan.
“Therefore, if the Tamil Nadu government sells coconut oil at PDS shops as ration, the farmer’s problem will be somewhat solved. The Tamil Nadu government should take appropriate action in that regard,” he said.
‘CENTRESHOULD FIX PRICE’
Tamil Nadu coconut growers are seeking better prices for copra from the Centre.
“As the price set by the Union government for copra is very low, the produce is not being purchased,” Shanmugam said.
“Unable to grow coconuts, coconut farmers have suffered a lot. To protect the welfare of coconut farmers, the Tamil Nadu chief minister recently wrote to the Prime Minister urging an increase in the prices,” he said.
“The BJP government should consider it as the voice of Tamil Nadu and raise copra price and increase the procurement volume,” he added.
Over 5 lakh acres of coconut, a long-term crop, has been cultivated in 19 districts—but in recent years, prices have started falling.
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