Bengaluru,Jan 30, 2018 : Spiralling coconut prices has forced homemakers and restaurateurs to use the key ingredient in dishes wisely.
While Hopcoms quotes Rs 38 for a large-sized coconut and Rs 29 for a smaller nut, retailers are selling between Rs 40 and Rs 50.
"My weekly budget is affected. I have reduced the quantity of coconut. I am also stocking chutney in the fridge," said Meenakshi L, a homemaker.
President of Karnataka Coconut Development Board Hemachandra J G said the cost has increased because there is a drop in production and stock.
"Though there was a good monsoon this year, there was a severe drought for the last two years. Coconuts take 36 months to germinate. The crop which is now available in the market was sown two years back," said Hemachandra.
Board members and farmers say the crop has been drastically affected in the Kalsi belt of Tamil Nadu, Tiptur, Ramanagaram, Chennarayapattana, Channapatna and neighbouring areas.
Hemachandra added that coconut export has increased because of the awareness over its benefits generated abroad.
Last year, Karnataka exported 2,500 metric tonnes. In the present financial year, the export has crossed 3,000 metric tonnes.
The demand for coconut has increased in the health market, which has led to a drop in the local market.
The government is yet to decide on importing coconut as there is sufficient stock and rates are also not very high, said an official from the horticulture department.
To make ends meet, traders are offering discounts for bulk purchase.
"I am offering Rs 10 discount per kilo if coconut is being purchased for temples and marriages," said V Venkatesh, a trader.
Due to the rates, the tradition of giving coconut in weddings has now been replaced with bananas and mosambis, said V Manjunath, owner of Tiptur Coconut Trading Company.
Hopcoms president Chandre Gowda said last year, the rate touched Rs 30 a piece but this time it is Rs 38. The prices could further increase in the coming days.
Veerendra N Kamat, the treasurer of Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels Association, said that coconut was a key ingredient in most south Indian dishes.
"It cannot be avoided...If normally 10 coconuts were used for a dish, it has come down to 7," he said.