Conversion to copra has declined substantially in central Kerala and other parts of the state. Small traders who used to trade in copra have shut shop, opting to sell tender coconut, M Thomas Mathew, Coconut Development Board, told FE. Figures from Karnataka show that production of ball copra has been on the decline on a year-to-year basis, he said. The shortage in supply was accentuated with the rains in Tamil Nadu, a major supplier of copra in the past few years. Meanwhile, consumption of coconut oil has been increasing, even though marginally, with hotels, bakeries and caterers using it, Mathew said. Retail price of palm oil has risen in the past few years and availability has been curtailed to a smaller extent, he added.