Ban on importing tender coconut

| 18 January 2001 10:44 IST

Goa is planning to ban import of tender coconuts in the tourist state while also imposing entry tax on dry copra used for extracting oil.

Replying to the debate raised by opposition member Dayanand Narvekar, chief minister Manohar Parrikar told the House that he has also requested the centre to work out alternate mechanism to the WTO in order to protect interests of domestic coconut growers.

The coastal state, which is also famous for its coconut and arecanut produce, is presently facing deep crisis due to imported products coming from outside India at much cheaper rates.

While the price of coconut per thousand dropped to Rs 2100 two months ago, tender coconuts imported here from Kerala and other southern states was found to be much cheaper, though tourists were sold it at a standard rate of Rs 10.

"As the imported tender coconut is affected by mite disease, we have decided to ban it totally", informed agriculture minister Ramarao Desai to the members. It would automatically increase sale of local tender coconuts, he added.

As the local tender fruit has become very popular among lakhs of tourists visiting the tiny state, the authorities have now also decided to open 100 sale points at bus stands, markets, beaches, temples and churches. It would also provide them with a special mechanical device fabricated by the CDB to cut open the tender coconut.

In order to encourage local farmers to prepare dry copra, said Parrikar, the government would also impose eight per cent entry tax on the imported fruit. In addition, the state plans to subsidise almost 50 units of dry copra with 25 per cent subsidy.

With the assistance of National Agriculture Co-operative Marketing Federation, two prime co-operative societies have already started procuring dry copra with a minimum support price of Rs 32,500 per metric tonne. Around 120 MT has already been purchased under this scheme, informed the agriculture minister.

Speaker Pratapsing Rane, who is also one of the leading agriculturist locally, however suggested to the government to fix a standard price for dry copra in order to bring rationality in the market.

Narvekar, also an agriculturist and former minister, however suggested the local BJP government to urge the centre to prepare a comprehensive policy to block import of agro products in the interest of the Indian producers.

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