Saturday, March 5, 2016

Coconut Harvesting

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.


Raja said...

Thanks for details. 2 ton from how many coconut trees? how much it costed for you to harvest and dehusk?

Nandakumar said...

2 ton from around 165 trees and in 3.5 months. Harvesting, collecting, dehusking and all together is around 6000/- rupees, slightly on the higher side, can be reduced to 5000/-


Raja said...

Thanks Nandan

Avatar said...

@ Nand Kunmar
Sir, this is how farmer are being cheated. If one educated person wants to do good in Agri-farming, dealer will break him like anythings. You have to compromise at all steps. 6000 in 4 month i.e. 1500 per month.
Those who are not doing agriculture for them it looks good to do all calculations in paper and go for profit booking business, But who are directly involve field work they only feel the real pain.
Govt. should take some proactive steps in this regards,
Thanks for sharing your real story brother.

Nandakumar said...

Thanks Avatar.. Political leaders have their own agenda and especially they are tuned to work for their benefits. Farmers have to come up with their own marketing strategy. There are many co-operatives run by farmers and when we work together, there is lot of energy and it can be fun.


Anonymous said...

Hi Nandan,

So nice to read what you write.

I am finally figuring out how to grow some stuff in NH, USA.

I wish I could figure out rice :).

warm regards,
John Concord NH USA

Nandakumar said...

Thanks John...

If you have sufficient water, growing rice won't be difficult. To minimise water usage, you can try SRI, lot of information is available in net for this.


PJ Chmiel said...

Thank you Nandan for documenting your farming experiences, very helpful and interesting for people around the world. I live in a cold climate in the northern part of the USA, so completely different crops than what you can grow, but I've followed your work via the Fukuoka group for many years and you've come a long way.

Here in the US, Coconut products (milk, flakes, powders, etc) have really increased in popularity in the last 5-10 years, so I'm surprised to hear of difficulties marketing and low prices being paid—I guess it's not a simple matter to tap into the global commodities market, and even if you can, they probably would not pay any kind of premium for your naturally-grown produce. Hope the market improves for you soon, I always love seeing your farm!

Anonymous said...

Dear Nandan,

Must say I fully concur with the guys above; I love seeing your farm too, Nandan!


Nandakumar said...

Dear PJ,

Nice to hear from an old friend of Fukuoka farming group used to be a wonderful group where I got lot of world wide experiences about farming.

Because of government support got a decent price, if this continues, it is fine ...

Summer is severe and no signs of rains !!!

Thanks Zakir !!!