Coconut and copra prices are expected to remain static over the next few months, says the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU).The TNAU says this is due to coconut production being above normal in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. However, there may be a slight hope in the form of demand from north India slowly increasing over the next month. Export demand of the nut is also expected to be high.

Experts say though coconut production is higher than normal in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, it has been below normal in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. “This is because of the drought-like conditions that persisted in both those states,” said a TNAU official.

“Farmers have been disappointed about the price they could demand because production was high in the district. And that usually means having to settle for a lower price in the market,” said Pollachi-based coconut seller D Manivannan.

Officials in TNAU’s coconut research station said coconuts during their auctions have only managed to garner a price of Rs 7.70 per nut. “The farmers are obviously upset because last year they managed to get a price of Rs 14 to Rs 15 per nut,” said N Shoba, head of the station.

“We have an auction every 45 days, the next one being on May 11, where the price is usually fixed,” she said. “They are hoping it does up,” she said. “The fact that coconut production in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh is low might come as good news to farmers,” said Manivannan.

TNAU’s Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development Studies (CARDS) has predicted that the price of good quality coconut will be around Rs 8 to Rs 9 per nut and good quality copra will get a price of Rs 52 to Rs 54 per kg.

This is after analysis of the last 14 years prices that prevailed in the Avalpoonthurai Regulated market in Erode,” said a TNAU official. “Increase in demand from north India and exports will help, but coconut arrivals from Mysore in June might impede prices soon after,” he said.Coconut, considered part of the South Indian staple diet, is cultivated across almost 78,000 hectares in the district. It is also the majorly grown crop in neighbouring Pollachi too.

 Tamil Nadu is also the leading producer of the nut in the country, contributing to 50% of the total production —140.55 million nuts in 2015-16.Coimbatore stands first among the coconut producing districts in Tamil Nadu with production of 8,598 lakh nuts followed by Tirupur, Thanjavur, Dindigul and Kanyakumari.