ECONOMYNEXT – Mahaweli Coconut Plantations Limited said its crop rose sharply last year after good rains with yields far higher than the national average but noted output would fall this year with prices also lower.
The company, whose shares began trading on the Colombo stock exchange in June, said its crop of 5,429,150 nuts in the 2018-19 financial year was 40 percent more than its crop in 2017/18.
The yield of 9,928 nuts per hectare was well above the national yield of 5,500 to 6,000 nuts, Felix Fernandopulle, Managing Director of Mahaweli Coconut Plantations (MCPL), told shareholders in its annual report.
Mahaweli Coconut Plantations annual net profit fell 12 percent to 103 million rupee in the 2018-19 financial year from a year ago.
Fernandopulle said that in 2018/19 when the firm’s crop rose by 40 percent, the island’s entire crop rose only 10 percent.
MCPL has planted 95,000 coconut palms on its plantation of 1,350 acres in the north-central province close to the Dimbulaga rock temple with water supplied from the Mahaweli river.
MCPL chairman S.D.W. Asitha Gunasekera the next financial year “would be a challenging one for MCPL due to lower prices of coconuts and effects of the prolonged drought. We expect this year our crop would be lower.”
Fernandopulle said the company faces difficulties in obtaining sufficient water for the plantation owing to the current drought in the region.
“This would have negative effects in our crop in 2019/20.”
Coconut prices had also fallen sharply after last year’s higher coconut crop, he said.
“The current price is around 20 rupees in the coconut area and since we are situated further away we have a disadvantage of obtaining the current market prices.
“Unless the price increases and the weather improves immediately, we would have to face the consequences in 19/20.”
(COLOMBO, 05 September, 2019)