India's coconut product exports more than double to Rs1,022 crore in 2 years

Export of coconut products from the country more than doubled to Rs1,022 crore in the 2012-13 fiscal year from Rs496 crore in the previous financial year, minister for agriculture and food processing Sharad Pawar said, adding that the trend in the growth of coconut exports in the current year also was encouraging.

Speaking at a function to give away national awards for outstanding performance in coconut sector for the year 2012, Pawar said India has the highest share in global production of coconut at 26.34 per cent.

Productivity of coconut in the country is also the highest in the world at 10,736 nuts per hectare.

Although coconut is cultivated in 18 states and three union territories in the country, Pawar said that 90 per cent of the total area under coconut cultivation falls within four southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil  Nadu. About 91 per cent of coconut production is also from these four states, he added.

He said the government is exploring the possibility of extending the scheme of replanting and rejuvenation of coconut gardens to  the entire country in a bid to further boost production.

The programme was first implemented on a pilot basis in Kerala and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2009. It has since been extended throughout Kerala.

The minister emphasised the need for intensified research to produce high-yielding and early bearing varieties to maximise production and farmers' income.

The world coconut production was at 63.33 billion nuts from an area of 12.26 million hectares.

Though India has come to the forefront in coconut production and productivity, he said, the country lagged behind in processing, value addition and exports. India was placed 22nd in  value addition and 25th in exports.

The awards, instituted by the Coconut Development Board, are given biennially to promote excellence in coconut cultivation, innovative methods in farming, product development, product improvement, product diversification and marketing.