After a break of two years, the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd (CAMPCO) here has planned to resume distribution of cocoa saplings to farmers from this year.
According to sources in the cooperative, one lakh saplings will be distributed to its grower members this year from June.
They said that the cooperative stopped distributing saplings to farmers as the Department of Horticulture was promoting cocoa cultivation under its cluster development programme.
But in the recent days, demands from farmers especially from Shivamogga, Sagara and Thirthahalli areas have surged. Hence the cooperative has decided to resume the distribution which had been stopped since 2014.
The saplings would be distributed at 50 per cent subsidised rate. Rate per each saplings has not been decided yet. In the open market, each cocoa sapling now was being sold at an average Rs. 10.
Sources said the price of wet cocoa beans in the market hovered between Rs. 45 a kg to Rs. 55 a kg in the past four years.
Hence farmers have shown interest to go for its intensive cultivation as inter-crop in arecanut and coconut plantations.
The saplings to be distributed by CAMPCO would start yielding in three years.
The CAMPCO now offered Rs. 58 a kg for wet cocoa beans. The price of dry beans stood between Rs. 205 to Rs. 208 a kg. The imported dry beans now cost between Rs. 210 a kg and Rs. 240 a kg, inclusive of all duties.
The peak cocoa arrival season (wet beans) is between May-August and November-December.
Cocoa beans are used mainly for making chocolates. Cocoa beans are the primary raw material for confectioneries, beverages and other edible products.
The cooperative owns a chocolate factory at Puttur in the district making it the only farmers’ cooperative to own such a chocolate factory in the State with a production capacity of 17,000 tonnes a year.