Chief Minister MK Stalin today (10 July) wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to take steps to increase procurement of copra (dried coconut) from the state under the Price Support Scheme(PSS).
Procurement under PSS is done when market prices fall below the Minimum Support Price (MSP) in order to provide income security to farmers.
In the letter, Chief Minister Stalin stated that increased procurement under PSS was necessitated from 2022 due to the fall in market prices of copra from Rs 11500 per quintal to Rs 8500 per quintal.
"Under PSS, in the current year so far within a span of just three months from April to June 2023, 47,513 MT of copra has been procured against the target of 56,000 MT and still three months of procurement season i.e., July to September 2023 are remaining. As there are still huge stocks of copra available with farmers and the market prices continue to rule low, several representations are received from the farmers across the State to increase the quantity of procurement under PSS.
"Hence, I request you to kindly issue necessary instructions to the concerned Ministry to enhance the quantity ceiling from the existing 25 per cent to 40 per cent for procurement of copra in the current season till September 2023 and also to increase the procurement target from 56,000 MT to 90,000 MT for the State of Tamil Nadu, which will help in stabilizing the market price of copra and thus will benefit the coconut growers in the State."
The letter comes days after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Annamalai had demanded that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government in the state procure copra from the farmers and ensure the availability of coconut oil in fair price shops as per promises made while campaigning for the 2021 elections.
He asked why is the state government not procuring de-husked coconut at Rs 29.3 per kilogram even after the central government had notified it under MSP.
Further, he said that the BJP government at the Centre had increased the MSP for copra by 107 per cent to Rs 108.6 per kilogram in the last nine years.
He added that procurement in the state could increase if the state government fulfilled its poll promise.
Coconut is an important cash crop in the state. With 4.46 lakh hectares, Tamil Nadu stands third in the country in terms of area under coconut cultivation.
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