Social Scientist. v 16, no. 158 (July 1986) p. 60.

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Market Structure

Trade in coconut is monopsonistic in nature, with a large number of cultivators to sell their produce and only a few village merchants and wholesale merchants acting as the agents of the millers. This monopsony in trade is a reason why the coconut cultivator is not able to get a better price for his produce.

About 3/4th of the nuts produced in Kerala are disposed of in the form of nuts itself by the cultivator after retaining 15 per cent for their own consumption.

Out of the total copra of 2.95 lakh tonnes produced in Kerala only 50 per cent is used for crushing in the local milling industry and the balance is marketed to Maharashtra. The copra crushed in Kerala yields about 96,000 tonnes of coconut oil annually out of which about 30,000 tonnes of coconut oil move out of Kerala to other states, mainly to Maharashtra ; and about 150 million nuts have been moving out of Kerala.

On analysing the data we see that l/3rd of the coconut oil, half of the copra and a good amount of coconuts move out of Kerala annually to Maharashtra. Through wholesale dealers these finally find their way to a few monopolists such a Hindustan Lever and Tata. It is these monopolists who finally determine the price of copra and coconut oil. In turn the price of copra and coconut oil affect the prices of coconut.

Table I

Area under coconut through the Plans

Plans Percentage change in area

First 9.28

Second 8.93

Third 16.14

Annual 12.55

Fourth 5.23

Fifth 9.98

Annual 0.46

Note : Base years are the first year of each plan period.

Source : Compiled from Report on the Marketing of Coconut in India, Agricultural Marketing Advisor, Directorate of Marketing and Inspection ; Agricultural Statistics in Kerala, 1975, Bureau of Economics and Statistics: Statistics for Planning 1977 and Statistics for Planning 1980, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Kerala.

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