Kochi April 23:The prices of coconut oil and pepper have breached record levels in the state bringing cheer to farmers while traders are having to deal with a shortage.
In the past few days, the prices of both coconut oil and pepper has been increasing on an almost daily basis. On Monday, the price of coconut oil increased by Rs 300 for a quintal to touch Rs 15, 300. As for pepper, the cost per quintal is progressing to Rs 70,000. Traders say that severe shortage of the commodities has created significant demand in the markets.
The price of coconut oil in Kangeyam, in Erode, has also increased to 15, 475 per quintal, breaching the price in Kochi for the first time. Even though the price of copra has touched Rs 10, 900, the commodity is not available at this rate. While loose coconut oil is worth about Rs 170 per kg, branded packets are now priced at Rs 180 per kg.
While the cost of coconut oil has increased and the availability of the commodity has decreased, the market is being flooded with low-quality products that are being sold at a lower cost. Keeping pace with the cost of coconut oil, the cost of palm oil has increased to Rs 70 per kg.
While cost of pepper in the high ranges itself is close to 64,000 per quintal, their price increases further when they reach the market centres. While it was expected that cost of the commodity would come down once picking starts in Karnataka, that has not happened and the price in Karnataka is now close to about Rs 67, 500 per quintal. North Indian traders are feeling the shortage in the markets and are looking to source the commodity from different sources.
To add to the scarcity, elections and a string of holidays have further dampened trade at the terminals in Kochi. This has led to an increase of 20 per cent in prices in the past two weeks.