Coconut prices are going down and may be at rock bottom.In 2011, I had sold at 30 rupees per kg (dehusked and with water), but now private parties take at 15/- per kg. Since price has crashed, goverment takes it at 25 rupees per kg, in an effort to save the farmers.Typically prices goes high in sabarimala festival season since demand for coconut is higher, but this time that also did not happen. Coconut oil prices are at 120 per litre, it is not that low, so why is that price for coconut has fallen? Price of all commodities and labour charges have increased drastically in the last 5 years, but the price of agriculture produce, goes down !!!!
Earlier I used to sell it to private parties, which involves no work from my side. They come harvest, dehusk, weigh and takes it.But since price they offer is very low decided to sell it to government procurement center. This involved some paper work and got it done quickly, but they said waiting period is 1 month, waited close to 2 months.
Got one person to pluck the coconuts and then they are supposed to gather it at one place. Two ladies came for gathering and they complained of thorns and farm ground is not clean and they are scared of snakes and they just went away. I had to get my worker's family for gathering and they are not experienced in this job, so take more time...
Searched for dehuskers and landed in some tea shops. To meet such people, I should go there at 7AM, when they come for tea. Finally worker's family agreed to do that and I made a dehusking tool. But one professional dehusker came on that day, arranged by my helper and he did a good job of dehusking 2000 coconuts in 2 days. If he wouldn't have come, it would have been difficult to complete it.
Finally with all the effort, could deliver it in Krishi bhavan (Government procuring centre) and totally it was around 2 ton and got a decent price. Money comes later ,may be after a month, but still it is worth the wait.
I never used to put lot of effort in marketing the produce, since running around was not interesting, this time I felt selling the produce at throw away price is not good, so took the pain of selling it. Once the system is in place and experience gathered helps in selling it next time, and also I document all the expenses, hence next time I know how to go about it.
May be a co-operative movement of farmers would help to sell it better and I can see there are many examples in different parts of the country. It is about co-ordinating things, but without loosing the spirit of agriculture.