Polls a wash-out for Maddur’s tender coconut suppliers

The coconuts that are available are going for Rs 35 to Rs 40 each.

Hubballi: Tender coconuts are in short supply in Maddur , Asia’s biggest market for this refreshing thirst-quencher this summer and the farmers blame it on the elections as political parties have hired the tree climbers for campaigning in Mandya.

Maddur’s tender coconuts are supplied around the country, but this year there is a dearth of pluckers and tree climbers as they are reportedly being offered money, besides food and other "incentives" to campaign for the political parties.

The result has been an acute shortage of tender coconuts in Hubballi-Dharwad and other cities of North Karnataka, which depend on Mandya and other southern parts of the state for them. The coconuts that are available are going for Rs 35 to Rs 40 each.

“There is usually a fall in the availability of tender coconuts during summer every year. But the situation has worsened this year as the labourers are being lured by political parties in Mandya for campaigning, ” said a trader, Irshad, who supplies tender coconuts to the twin cities of Huballi-Dharwad.

“We paid one rupee for plucking a tender coconut just a few months ago. But now the tree climbers and helpers are not coming forward even if we offer them two rupees a coconut as they are involved in campaigning. Politicians are offering them money, food and liquor. The coconuts need to be plucked every 45 days and the delay has caused us a loss as there is greater demand in the market during summer, which we are not able to meet,” complained Mr Yogesh T, a farmer from Torebommanahalli village in Maddur taluk, who has a six acre coconut plantation.

As the farmers grumble, people are forced to go without their favourite summer drink in villages, the polls proving a dampner in a way they could not have imagined.

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