India emerges largest producer of coconut in the world

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Kochi, Sep 1 (UNI) India has emerged as the largest producer of coconut in the world as the coconut production increased from 14.81 billion nuts in 2005-06 to 15.84 billion in 2006-07.

Talking to reporters here today, Coconut Development Board (CDB) Chairperson Minnie Mathew said as per the estmimates released by Directorate of Economics and Statistics of the Union Ministry of Agriculture, India topped the list followed by Indonesia and Philippines with a production of 14.98 and 12.6 billion nuts respectively.

She said productivity also showed an upward trend from 7,608 nuts per hectare during the period with the southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka accounting for 90.29 per cent of the area and 91.13 per cent of the total coconut production in the country.

Coconut makes a contribution of nearly Rs 8,880 crore to the GDP and Rs 650 crore to the export earnings and provides direct and indirect employment to more than ten million people and raw material for nearly 15,000 coir processing units, Ms Mathew said. Regarding exports, she said Rs 114 crore worth of coconut shell-based activated carbon was exported to the US and African and European countries. Refined oil and shell charcoal worth Rs 30 crore and Rs 17 crore respecively were also exported from the country annually.

Sounding a positive note on the tender coconut market in the State, Ms Mathew said there had been a 130 per cent increase in the consumption of tender coconuts in the last two years as nine lakh tender coconuts were sold in a single day in Kerala.

CDB is partnering with major processing units to achieve backward and forward integration and link the farmer with the market to provide a steady and stable markets for coconuts.

An initiative on a pilot scale was started by partnering with 'Marico' involving in cluster programme and would be setting up collection centres and providing financial support for installing copra dryers for production of quality copra, she said.

Under the Technology Mission on Coconut (TMOC), CDB had promoted product development and diversification.

The products developed with the support of national laboratories include virgin coconut oil, defatted coconut powder, processing and packaging tendernut water, coconut water-based vinegar, chutney powder and others.

Ms Mathew said tomorrow would be observed as 'World Coconut Day' and the theme would be 'Augmenting farmer income through coconut-based farming systems, farm level processing and value addition'.

UNI MA PMM 1645

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