December 22, 2015
With the falling prices of coconut and rampant adulteration of coconut oil, coconut farmers have announced a protest to demand better prices for their produce and to put an end to corruption in agriculture.
For the past 30 years, palm oil is being imported from foreign countries. In the beginning, it was in a small scale, but in the past few years, it has grown tremendously. These days, oil is being imported purely for commission, Mr. C. Nallasami, secretary of Federation of Tamil Nadu Agricultural Association, said.
There are about 5 crore coconut trees in Tamil Nadu. Pollachi, Kangeyam, and Tirupur are known for their high quality coconut trees. From being the No.1 state in coconut production, Tamil Nadu has slumped to lower ranks in 2013 and 2014, due to acute drought. This year, excess rain has led to lower production. Coconuts are now being procured for Rs.8 instead of Rs.20. The procurement department is not helping either.
“Despite being an agricultural country, India imports cooking oil from abroad. The palm oil imported to India is adulterated with industrial oil,” he said, adding that the import process was entirely wrong.
He also said that adulteration not only affects farmers but also the health of the public, leading to diseases like cancer, and noted that oil is now being imported for commission.
Speaking to the members of the United Coconut Planters Association of South India, he said that 80% of the oil is adulterated when imported, and a petition was sent to the Agricultural Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh a few months ago about this oil being imported to India and its effect on the coconut farmers. He added that there was no response from the government.
Meanwhile, toddy collectors have decided to stage a protest on January 21, demanding that the 30-year-old ban on toddy be revoked. The association claimed that it was wrong to bring toddy under Article 47 (Prohibition of consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injurious to health), since toddy is not liquor. A meeting will be held in Erode on December 31 to discuss the protest.