PETALING JAYA: There will be enough coconuts for the upcoming Thaipusam celebration but they will cost more, said the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA).
FAMA senior director of fresh produce Mohd Anis Mohd Yasin said that an additional one million coconuts would be imported from Indonesia to meet demand.
“We import about one million coconuts per month but during Thaipusam we will import an additional one million,” he said when contacted.
However, he said that several factors have led to an increase in the price of imported coconuts.
“Supply has gone down but demand is high so prices have increased slightly.
“Before, it was 70 sen per coconut but now it is RM1.30,” he said, adding that the Government has been importing from Indonesia the past few years.
One reason for the drop in supply was that a number of Indonesian farmers have switched from farming coconuts to growing rice, Mohd Anis said.
“There were also floods (in Indonesia) which disrupted supply and we are now competing with Thailand to buy coconuts from Indonesia,” he added.
Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) deputy president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said the Government needed to invest more in agricultural research.
“Right now, there is a lack of research into how to increase our coconut production so that we don’t have to rely on imports,” said Mohd Yusof.