If the government does not manage the demand the need for 1.9 billion coconut properly, there would be a risk of increasing prices of both the local coconut and coconut oil, the National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection (NMCRP) said.
NMCRP President Ranjith Vithanage told the Daily Mirror that the annual coconut harvest is 3 billion nuts and the demand for coconuts in the country is 4.9 billion nuts.
"A total volume of 1.8 billion nuts are needed for domestic consumption and another 1.8 billion are needed for coconut oil production. The number of coconuts required for export is 1.3 billion nuts. Compared to the annual coconut harvest, the deficit is 1.9 billion nuts. Local coconut and coconut oil prices also went up last year due to this situation. Therefore, we told the government about this situation earlier. Due to the careless decisions taken by the government at that time, the local consumers had to buy coconuts and coconut oil at higher prices," he said.
However, the government would be able to increase the export revenue if the situation is managed properly.
Although the government had taken steps to import rice to meet the demand in the country, coconut could not be imported. Furthermore, due to the dollar crisis in the country, it is not possible to reduce the volume of 1.3 billion coconuts required for exports. If so, what the government can do is manage the consumption of coconut oil in the country. The consumption of coconut oil in the country is 240,000 metric tons.
October and November coconut harvests were generally safe. The coconut harvest comes to the market in January, February and March every year.
The price of a coconut could increase from Rs.120 and Rs.130 due to the higher cost of buying for coconut oil production. Therefore, the price of a bottle of coconut could pitch between Rs. 700 and Rs. 800 in the future. (Chaturanga Samarwickrama)