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Technology Transfer And Application In Relation To The Coconut Industry

The coconut palm is one of  the most versatile trees known  in view of its use as a source of food, drink and shelter. The major coconut producing countries in the world export only the primary  products such as copra  and coconut oil. A very  small percentage (less than 10 percent) of the coconut production is converted to value added products. In the recent past there have been  attempts to manufacture new products such as coconut cream , cream  powder, fibre polymer composites, etc. Coconut cultivation and the coconut based industry provide millions of people gainful employment in developing countries of  the Asian and Pacific region. The pace  of  modernization in the post harvest processing sector has been rather slow due to many factors. The main reason is coconut is still being viewed in some countries as food crop. Consequently, other than the traditional activities such as copra  making, oil milling and to some extent coir processing , no major break through has taken place in the  large scale application of modern technologies for the  fuller utilization of  the  different coconut products. There is also need to  promote R&D and small scale enterprises to ensure product diversification and by product utilization. The new produts processes under development include bottling of tender coconut w ater, wet processing of coconut, utilization of coconut pith and other wastes as a light weight aggregate as well as manufacture  of specific chemcials. All these new processes that have  been developed have to be made economically viable for an entrepreneur. The small scale units are finding it difficult to invest heavily on marketing of new products. Hence there is need to evolve an approach  for commercialization of new  processing  units and creating markets for coconut based  products. In this context, the role of  government agencies, coconut development boards and financial institutions are crucial in the application of new technologies to improve the economy of the rural areas. APCTT as a regional United Nations Institution is actively engaged in strengthening technology transfer capabilities of member countries of  the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the  Pacific (ESCAP). The main focus is on  small and medium scale enterprises and transfer of environmentally sound technologies in the  region .The Centre has created a METI data base  as well as an "International Network for Transfer of  Environmentally  Sound  Technologies (INTET )" network to bring together the technology offerers and potential users.

The Centre is continuously evolving new mechanisms to strengthen technology transfer services rendered  to SMEs in technology  acquisition and modernization programmes. Some of the technology transfer activities initiated to  enhance subregional and regional cooperation as well as the  specific coconut based technologies relevant to  member countries promoted by the Centre are  highlighted in this paper


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