Cocoa Prices Reach Record Highs in Idukki Amid Low Production

Amidst a surge in cocoa prices in Idukki, farmers are facing mixed emotions due to low production levels. While the price of dry cocoa has skyrocketed to over Rs 800 per kilogram, farmers are not entirely jubilant due to decreased production.

Before Easter, dry cocoa prices soared to Rs 750, maintaining stability during the holiday break before rising again post-holidays to the current Rs 830. The spike in prices is attributed to farmers shifting from cocoa to more lucrative cash crops like cardamom, spurred by damage to cocoa trees during the last rainy season.

Idukki, renowned for its quality cocoa, has traditionally been a leading cocoa-producing district in Kerala, with chocolate manufacturers eagerly procuring from the region. However, the recent increase in prices has not translated into significant benefits for farmers, largely due to low production caused by scant rainfall and extreme heat impacting the flowering stage of cocoa trees.

According to farmers, this year’s production during the February-April period is the lowest in the last five years. Cocoa typically has two seasons: high yield following the monsoon (October-November) and lower yield during the summer months (February-April), with trees being harvested weekly.

While cocoa prices surge to record highs, the predicament of low production casts a shadow over the optimism among Idukki farmers, underscoring the complex dynamics of agricultural livelihoods in the region.

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