Coconut price likely to soar

Tedious task: An Anba Coconut Trading worker sorting out the coconuts at the shop in Rangoon Road, Penang.

THE shortage of coconuts is causing a well-known wholesaler in Rangoon Road to start rationing the quantity sold to customers.

Anba Coconut Trading Sdn Bhd wholesaler P. Sarasvathy, 56, said she started the rationing last month to cope with coconut shortage for the upcoming Thaipusam celebration on Feb 3.

“Some of my customers have asked for 100 coconuts but I am able to give them only 50.

“However small the amount, I still have to supply them with the coconuts as they have to conduct their businesses.

“I used to have a lorry delivering up to 12,000 coconuts but this had been reduced to between 2,300 and 5,000 per delivery,” she told a press conference at her shop yesterday.

Sarasvathy attributed the shortage to the floods in Kelantan which had affected supply badly.

“More than 150,000 coconuts were brought in from Kuala Bernam, Perak, last year.

“But this year, I managed to get only 30,000,” she explained.

“The situation has gotten so bad that coconuts are being harvested every 25 days instead of the normal 50 to cope with the demand of the season,” she said.

She added that the coconut shortage would recover in April or May.

Sarasvathy said her wholesale price of RM1.60 per coconut was determined by her contract with the estates.

“My profits are more than enough; so I do not wish to in-crease the price.

“I am even willing to lower the price if my stock is enough,” she added.

“I am not selling coconuts from Indonesia because their shells are too hard and unsuitable for breaking during Thaipusam.

“Even for santan, the Indonesian coconuts are not as tasty,” she said.

Consumers Association of Penang education officer N.V. Subarrow, who was present, suggested that the Government should bring in more coconuts from other countries to cope with the demand.

“The price of a coconut is expected to increase from RM2 to RM2.30 by Feb 3.

“I encourage those planning to break coconuts for Thaipusam to reduce the number and spend their money on giving to charity instead,” he added.

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