Online trading off track as copra prices decline

Slide attributed to govt's failure to appoint APMC secy

The price of copra, which had breached 20k-mark a few months back, is on the downward slide. On Wednesday, copra was sold at Rs 9,500 to Rs 10,212 per quintal at Tiptur APMC.

The downward slide trend is attributed to the government's failure to appoint secretary to the APMC here which is lying vacant for a month now. The secretary plays a vital role in determining the prices of copra.

After Doreswamy was transferred from Tiptur APMC, Arasikere APMC secretary has been appointed a s acting secretary of Tiptur APMC. With no full-time secretary, the APMC has lost its control on determining the prices of copra, which has led to the downslide, it is said.

Also, the dip in prices of coconut oil is being seen as one of the reasons for the steady decrease of copra prices.

But a few trade analysists have different story to tell. They claim that the whiteball copra sold in Tiptur, Arasikere, Hassan, Channarayapatna and Nagamangala APMCs mostly goes to North India and is used for making sambar and food items and a small percentage of copra from the said region  goes for manufacturing coconut oil. So, they claim, dip in coconut oil prices is a non-issue.

When the e-procurement or online trading of copra was introduced in Tiptur APMC, the price of copra sky-rocketed and the PAMC witnessed huge transaction. After the then APMC secretary Nymagouda was transferred, the online trading system developed snags or the vested interests tried to derail the system as the price of copra, which once hit Rs 20k-mark per quintal, started registering a steady dip.

The trade analysts fear that the price of copra will decrease further if the government fails to regulate import of palm oil from Malaysia and other nations in South East Asia and Africa.

Meanwhile the coconut growers have every reason to believe that the prices will dip further for the yield is good owing to good spells of rainfall. High yield means more produce will come to market giving good bargain for the buyers and the traders.

With no secretary to regulate the affairs of the APMC, the market, which is touted as biggest copra market in Asia, these days, is being run by the traders and the middlemen.

Add to it, every effort is being made to derail the online system. If the farmers insist for online trading, the commission agents and the traders quote Rs 300 less than the standard price. So, the farmers are not willing to sell their produce through e-procurement or online trading.

These days, agents call the shots at Tiptur APMC. They quote the price and make sure to quote it at a lower price. Rashtriya e-Market Services (ReMS) is not functioning which has prevented the traders/buyers from North India from entering into the local market. The government had introduced the online trading with much fanfare but the system has remained just on paper. The coconut growers in the region are getting raw deal, laments, Srikantha, member of Price Monitoring Committee.

Raitha Sangha taluk president Devaraj told Deccan Herald,  “The vested interests are conspiring to bring the prices of copra to Rs 8,000 per quintal. The price dip is marginal yet steady over the months. They know that the farmers would be angry, if the price dip is drastic. So, they are reducing the price in a phased manner before stabilising it at Rs 8,000 per quintal,” he said.

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