JD(U) Kerala unit demands fair price for coconuts

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New Delhi, Sep 20 (UNI) The Kerala unit of the Janata Dal (United) today urged Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to fix a support price of at least Rs 5,000 per quintal of milling copra to ensure that coconut farmers get a fair price for their produce.

In a memorandum to Mr Pawar, JD(U) Secretary General K Ranganathan pointed out that more than 3.5 million coconut farmers were facing an acute crisis during the past eight years due to unprecedented fall in the prices of coconut oil, copra and raw coconut.

This, he said, was due to the liberalisation policies which had led to the import of edible oil at a low customs duty and without any restrictions.

''The major item of import is different kinds of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, of which crude palm oil is allowed to be imported at zero per cent customs duty,'' Mr Ranganathan said, adding that coconut oil could not compete cost wise with palm oil, leading to the crisis in the coconut sector.

UNI SH RR BD1920

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