Cooperative Nafed today started procurement of copra at the minimum support price (MSP) in Karnataka in order to protect growers from falling prices of the commodity.
The MSP of 'milling copra' stands at Rs 5,950 per quintal, while 'ball copra' at Rs 6,240 per quintal for the ongoing 2016-17 crop year (July-June).
"We have started the MSP operation in Karnataka from today onwards. The procurement is being undertaken through our two centres where prices are ruling below the MSP," Nafed Managing Director Sanjeev K Chadha told PTI.
In total, five procurement centres have been opened in the state. Prices at two centres -- Arsikere and Huliyar -- are ruling below the MSP at present, he said.
"Other centres are not procuring right away because in many places copra rates are just above the MSP level. If prices drop, we will definitely enter the market to buy copra from farmers," Chadha said.
However, copra rates in many places are still ruling above the MSP level because the state government has also announced a bonus of Rs 1,000 per quintal over and above the support price to protect growers.
Copra prices in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and other producing states have come under pressure on account of expected good 2016 kharif production.
As far as other states are concerned, Nafed said it started procurement operation in Andhra Pradesh on July 8 and so far about 3,300 tonnes of 'milling copra' has been purchased at the support price from its seven centres. The procurement in Andhra ended last month.
In case of Tamil Nadu, the cooperative has purchased about 1,170 tonnes of both milling and ball copra from its 34 centres. The procurement started from June 15 and it has now been stopped as prices have firmed up, it added.
Nafed is one of the central agencies which undertakes MSP operations on behalf of the government to protect the interest of the farming community.