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How Much Do Toddy Tappers Earn In A Month?

toddy tapper

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Toddy tapping is a traditional occupation that provides a livelihood for thousands of workers across India. While the average daily wage is relatively low, there are exceptional cases of toddy tappers earning substantial incomes.

Toddy tapping, a traditional occupation in India, involves the collection of fermented coconut sap, known as toddy, from palm trees. This profession, while deeply rooted in Indian culture, has faced challenges in recent years due to social stigma, poor working conditions, and a shortage of workers. In this article, let's explore the earnings of toddy tappers, focusing on Kerala, Karnataka, and Telangana, where the industry is most prominent.

Kerala: The Heart of Toddy Tapping

A toddy tapper in Kerala earns an average of ₹1,500 per day. This figure is based on the experiences of workers and does not reflect the minimum wage, which is set by the government. The Kerala Toddy Workers Welfare Fund Board ensures that each toddy shop has at least five toddy tappers and two salesmen. However, the industry is facing a severe shortage of workers, with the number of registered toddy tappers dropping from nearly 30,000 in 2014 to below 15,000.

Karnataka: Minimum Wage and Beyond

The minimum wage for toddy tapping in Karnataka is ₹2,000 per day, with effect from April 1, 2023, and 2,100 per day with effect from April 1, 2024. This wage is set by the government to ensure fair compensation for toddy tappers.

Telangana: Including Conveyance and Selling

In Telangana, the minimum wage for toddy tapping, including conveyance and selling, is ₹2,500 per day. This wage is higher than the minimum wage in Karnataka, reflecting the higher costs of living in Telangana.

An Exceptional Earner: Salimon from Kottayam

E P Salimon, a toddy tapper from Kottayam, Kerala, has earned as much as ₹1.25 lakh per month. This exceptional case highlights the potential for toddy tappers to earn a substantial income, but it is not the norm. Toddy shop owners lease palm trees, paying tree owners ₹30 for every liter of toddy sold at ₹60 to 70 per liter. Salimon taps around 210 liters daily, earning ₹18 per liter. As a member of the Kerala Toddy Workers’ Welfare Fund Board, he also receives a daily allowance of ₹302.

Challenges and Opportunities

The toddy tapping industry faces several challenges, including social stigma, poor working conditions, and a shortage of workers. However, there are opportunities to promote the industry through value-added products and by encouraging toddy tapping on a plantation basis. The Kerala government's new liquor policy aims to boost the traditional toddy sector by encouraging toddy tapping across Kerala on a plantation basis and by providing a facelift to toddy shops.