Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has created uncertainty in the lives of rural people also. CNM explores the current situation of traditional coconut farmers.
Small,medium and large scale coconut producers are upset since their products are unsold and the lcokdown extension raises many concerns of their livelihood.
There are 357315 coconut farmers in Kozhikode as per the data accessed from Coconut Development Board.The actual number is higher than this since it is the number provided on the basis of 1804 registered Coconut Producers’ Society.
Kozhikode is one of the biggest coconut markets for green coconuts and on an average every day from here 50 lorries laden with around six lakh coconuts leave for the two neighbouring states.
Vatakara is the second largest coconut market in Kozhikode district.Here,dried coconut (copra) and similar version ball copra (unda) are marketed at Peruvattumthazha and Adakkatheruvu.Most of these products are gone to Mumbai and Gujarat.The lockdown and interstate travel ban hits ccoconut producers and merchants.
Copra (or khobara) is the dried meat or kernel of the coconut, which is the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Coconut oil is extracted from copra, making it an important agricultural commodity for many coconut-producing countries.
Three million coconuts are piled up in the market, unable to be transported to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Bearing palms in Kozhikode district is 9151309 and annual production is 484621279 ,according to a recent study .
The total area under coconut cultivation in India is 20.96 lakh hectares of which Kerala alone accounts for 7.60 lakh hectares.
Kerala stands first in the production of coconuts at 5,230 million nuts as against 23,798 million nuts in the country
The coconut palm is considered as the tree of life. It is one of the most valuable gifts of nature to mankind. The palm is eulogized as kalpavriksha, the all giving tree of the Tree of Heaven and its fruit as Lakshrniphal, the Fruit of Wealth . It is botanically known as Cocos nuciferaL and belongs to the natural order Arecaceae (palmae), an important member of monocotyledons.
More than 10 million people in the country depend on coconut cultivation, processing, marketing and trade related activities. In the coastal tracts most of the people depend on coconut for their sustenance and to many people coconut provides the sole income. Since the coconut garden accommodates most of the fruits and vegetable crops besides live stock, the coconut based farming system satisfies the day to day needs of a family in coastal agro eco-system especially in Kerala. The palm contributes a large quantity of biomass too to satisfy the fuel requirements of an average family. It is reported that 30-40 coconut trees would be sufficient to satisfy the fuel requirement of a small family.
Traditional coconut farmers are waiting for lockdown exemption atleast for few days to sell their products.
Sources:Coconut Development Board,Sodhganga