Recent cyclones have severely hit the earnings of coconut growers of coastal districts like Srikakulam, East and West Godavari and Krishna.
The two cyclones - Phailin and Helen- destroyed more than 110,000 coconut trees, resulting in an estimated loss of Rs 3.30 crore, according to government officials. Besides, crowns of thousands of coconut trees were damaged by heavy winds and now it would take more than a year for them to give normal production. On average, a tree gives 300 nuts per year.
On each coconut tree, farmers get Rs 1,200-1,500 per month. In some areas like Uddanam in Srikakulam district and Konaseema in East Godavari district, people have been growing coconut trees in their yards too. For instance, each house in Konaseema villages has 4 to 20 coconut trees.
If a crop like paddy, banana or sugarcane is damaged, the loss will be only for that season or a year, but in the case of coconut tree, it takes seven to ten years to get the same tree and same production, said Rudraraju Bapuji, a coconut grower in Malkipuram village of Konaseema.
However, traders in Konaseema do not expect this to impact the prices due to reduction of nuts production.
One month ago, traders paid Rs 8,000 per 1,000 nuts to farmers in Konaseema. Now, the price has reduced to Rs 5,500. But this was mainly due to offseason and frequent rains, said Areti Venkateswara Rao, a coconut trader in Razolu village of Konaseema.
During the season, local traders export coconuts largely to Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal. At present, there are no major festivals in these states. So, coconut prices have fallen Rs 2,000-2,500 per 1,000 nuts over the last one month.