The crop contributes more than R8,000 crore annually to the GDP and earns valuable foreign exchange to the extent of R1,700 crore by way of export of coconut products, board sources said. Coconut farmers are reeling under a major price crash, which started during the fag end of 2011 and is still continuing, Jose added. Coconut oil prices touched record high of R105 per kg during May 2011 due to lower production of nuts in India.
As on Monday evening, coconut oil prices at the Thrissur market stood at R59 per kg and oil delivered at Thrissur from Kangayam also quoting the same rate. Competing palm oil is quoted R62 per kg while close substitute palm kernel oil is quoted R72 per kg.
As imported edible oils enjoy tariff concession as well as subsidy, their market price at retail level is low which makes a significant dent on the marketability of coconut oil in the various markets in India, board source said.