Coconut farmers are welcoming new government proposals designed to protect their interests by stabilising prices and investing in disease prevention. There is also the possibility that an import tax may be levied on copra entering India from other countries.

Agriculture minister Ramrao Desai revealed that the mechanisms were proposed after Tivim MLA Dayanand Narvekar made a ‘calling attention motion’in parliament yesterday (18 January).

Farmers growing supari and coconut in Goa have suffered much hardship since the price plummeted. Desai revealed that for many varieties of coconut, prices were gradually recovering, but added that the government is considering bringing in a market intervention scheme (MIS) as further insurance.

Other features of the proposals include the subsidising of copra driers through the Coconut Development Board (CDB) and the development of 100 sale points to enable growers to better market their produce.

A ban is also being considered on tender nuts to prevent the spread of the damaging mite disease.