Coconut oil prices are now ruling at ₹196/kg in Kerala while it touched ₹192 in Tamil Nadu. Copra prices are hovering at ₹144/kg in the Kerala market and ₹140 in Tamil Nadu.
According to Thalath Mahmood, Director, Cochin Oil Merchants Association (COMA), there has been a 40 per cent drop in copra production due to failed monsoon last year in several growing areas of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The ongoing Sabarimala pilgrim season also led to a rise in demand for raw coconuts, which resulted in the non-conversion of copra.
However, he added that the high prices have paved the way for the entry of adulterated coconut oil in the domestic market, and the association has approached the Kerala High Court seeking directives to take urgent steps in this regard.
Shortage of copra
Officials at the Coconut Development Board pointed out that the copra-making process has lost its sheen and has now turned out to be a losing proposition. Copra-making has come to a standstill in Kerala and in Tamil Nadu – there is acute shortage of milling copra, which in turn has pushed up the price of coconut oil.
Due to large-scale diversification of fresh coconuts to non-traditional products, the system of determining the price of coconut based on the price of coconut oil or copra, which is prevalent across growing areas, is gradually waning, the officials added.
Bharat Khona, former Board member of COMA, said that adulterated coconut oils, mixed with palm kernel and other refined oils, have taken the market in a big way. Corporates and upcountry buyers are reluctant to enter the market at these price levels. The higher price is reflected in the loose oil market which touched ₹3,000 for 15 kg in Tamil Nadu.
Source: The COCOMMUNITY, VOL. XLVIII NO. 2, 1 February 2018 - APCC