Where has our support for “Buatan Malaysia” gone?
Life has been difficult for coconut farmers in 2018 as they are losing up to two-thirds of their sales to imported coconuts from Indonesia and Thailand, The Star reported.
Local suppliers are now in hot water as their coconuts are rotting in warehouses and being dumped at plantations because the Malaysia consumers prefer the cheaper and lower-graded imported coconuts.
Supplier A. Anbarasan, 64, said this is the first time it has happened in his 27 years in the business.
“The sale of coconuts has dropped more than three times this year alone.
“Usually, I could distribute an average of 350,000 coconuts monthly, but now I can only sell between 100,000 and 120,000 coconuts monthly since April.
“In Perak alone, I have about 70,000 husked coconuts stored in Sitiawan and about 300,000 dehusked coconuts at a plantation in Bagan Datuk,” Anbarasan told the daily.
He said that other suppliers in the nation are all in the same boat as he estimated that there could be “a few million” unsold coconuts going rotten.
Anbarasan, who also runs two stores in Jalan Penaga and Jalan Abu Siti on Penang island, believed imports from Indonesia and Thailand have flooded the country and oversupplied the local market.
According to him, one locally produced coconut is between RM1.20 and RM1.50 each but the imported ones could go as low as 80 sen to RM1 each.
“If you import coconuts from Indonesia, one tonne or about 1,000 coconuts cost only RM550, or 55 sen each,” Anbarasan lamented.
He added that local coconuts are better in quality but the price is higher, thus Malaysian consumers often opt for the cheaper ones.
Anbarasan’s wife P. Sarasvathy, 60, said that the local coconut water is more fragrant and creamier in texture.
“Our local coconut milk can be sold for RM9 per kilo but those from Indonesia cost only RM5 per kilo because they are of poor quality.
“However, the coconuts from Indonesia are usually bigger in size.
“I have tried ordering a tonne of Indonesian coconuts before and half of them were spoilt because they were not fresh. The coconut milk tends to be a bit watery too,” she said.
The couple wished the government could look into the matter and put a halt into such massive imports that disrupt local coconut market.
Every coconut is a ticking time bomb and another coconut supplier, A. Loganathan, 49, is worried that his local produce would not even reach the retail shelves. He also said he had never seen this drastic change in his 25 years experience.