Shortage of production, mite disease and decline in growing saplings are given as reasons for shortage
The price of coconut has gone up by 50% in Ponda putting a burden on the common man. Farmers have now appealed to the government to take remedial measures.
A coconut, which was selling at Rs 10, 12 and 15 last month is now being sold at Rs 20, 25 and 30.
According to stake holders, the prices have gone up mainly due to the decline in production and due to the mite disease.
Coconuts are being brought to the Ponda market from Kerala to meet the demands of the citizens.
According to the stock holders, shortage of coconut pluckers is another reason cited due to which the coconuts get dried up on the tree and fall down and carried away people passing by.
Lack of maintenance by landlords who don’t bother to plant saplings is another reason in the decline in production. Increased felling of coconut trees by builders, destruction by wild animals, especially monkeys, is another reason for the decline, say sources.
The Zonal Agricultural Officer Nagesh Komarpanth says production has reduced by 25 per cent, especially due to the spread of mite disease for the past 15 years.
Some coconut vendors are also blaming the radiation from mobile towers for the decline. Sandesh Naik, who is one of the main suppliers of coconut to the market, has also blamed the concretisation of coconut farms. Naik says that most of the vendors rely on supply from the neighbouring states. Most of the tender coconuts sold in Goa today come from outside the state, said Naik.
MP Adv Narendra Savoikar, who is also the chairman of Goa Bagayatdar, refuting the farmers’ claim of mobile towers, said the decline is mostly due to the mite disease and to the shortage of pluckers.
Sunita Naik, a coconut vendor said that she doesn’t profit much from the sale of coconut although she sells them at a higher rate. “People have stopped buying coconuts due to the rise in the price and have reduced its consumption,” said Sunita.
Uttam Naik, a senior coconut plucker, says they used to collect around 2500 or 3000 coconuts in a bhagayat which has now reduced to 1500. Uttam said there is no law to protect pluckers and they do it risking their life.
A senior retired teacher Manohar Adpoikar says the attitude of a susegad Goenkar has changed over the years. “When one gets a coconut in the market, why grow trees in their backyard,” is what many landlords are prone to say, Manohar says.