Admitting that the coconut production in Goa has reduced to some extent due to lack of care, the Agriculture Minister, Vijai Sardesai on Monday said that furthermore, as a result of low wholesale rates of coconuts prevailing during past few years – except for the period from September 2017 to March, 2018 – taking up coconut cultivation in the state has become less remunerative.
Sardesai, coming out with this written information, in the state legislative assembly, in response to a related query from the Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar informed that in addition, other factors such as increased wages of farm labour, scarcity of skilled labour (coconut pluckers), increased cost of fertilisers/ manures, damage due to monkeys as well as pests such as Eriophyid mite have been causing hindrance in achieving optimum productivity of coconut gardens.
The written reply from the Agriculture Minister further stated, “Government is supplying organic/ semi-organic/ bio-organic manure and bio-pesticide for coconut plantation for a minimum area of 0.1 hectares with 16 coconut bearing trees under State Sector Scheme – Productivity Improvement in Coconut Garden.”
“Assistance is also being provided to the farmers having minimum area of 0.2 hectares, with 32 coconut bearing trees under Central Sector Coconut Development Board Scheme – Laying out of Demonstration Plots (LODP),” it added.
The House was also informed that the assured price of coconut was enhanced to Rs 10 per nut from Rs 8 per nut during 2016-17. The Agriculture Minister further informed the House that the department of agriculture is planning to bring hybrid coconut seedlings from other states to Goa, in co-ordination with the Coconut Development Board since the seedlings from private nurseries are sold at relatively higher rates.
“The hybrid seedlings procured through Coconut Development Board will be sold to the farmers at rates lower than those prevailing at present in the state,” he noted.