New Delhi, Nov 19 (UNI) The Government today announced that it has constituted a National Council for Land Reforms under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and accordingly the composition, terms or reference of the council are being finalised.
Minister of State for Agriculture Kanti Lal Bhuria, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, said the Government is taking various steps through the Coconut Development Board (CDB) to encourage value additions of coconut into virgin coconut oil.
The CDB and Central Food Technology Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore have developed a technology for production of virgin coconut oil from coconut milk by centrifugal process.
He said the Board is providing financial assistance to entrepreneurs for setting up of processing units for production of virgin coconut oil under Technology Mission on Coconut. So far, financial support was extended for seting up of 16 virgin coconut oil production units with a capacity to process 38000 nuts per day.
Mr Bhuria said Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) is the purest form of coconut oil and contains natural vitamin E and is rich in nutrients and aroma. It has good export potential and fetches higher marked price than traditional coconut oil. Due to high nutritional content, the VCO can be used as a food supplement and has wide application in neutraceuticals and cometics industry and provides an excellent opportunity to small coconut growers for improving their income, he added.
The minister admitted that the use of Geographic Information System, Global Position System, Simulation Modelling have helped in increasing the agricultural production in the country.
He said the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has developed 29 improved varieties and released for commercial cultivation. These comprise 16 in oilseeds comprising 12 groundnut, two soyabean and 2 mustard, 11 in pulses and one each for rice and jute.
The Minister said the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) is developing improved cultivors/varieties with high yield potential, tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses and better quality traits through bio-technological interventions. There is proposal for establishing institutes on Agricultural Bio-technology, biotic and Abiotic Stress management during sixith plan.
He said nano-technology has the potential to enhance resource use efficiency in terms of soil-water nutrient pesticide through development of suitable nano-products and biosensors. The potential, however, remains to be harnessed, he pointed out.