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Environment - Friendly Coconut In The Background Of The Social And Cultural Life Of People

The versatility of coconut palm has found expression in many religious scriptures. Over the generations the coconut palm and its products have been an integral part of the way of life of the people in the humid tropics. Apart from serving the food and nutrition security of the people, including household medicinal needs, they adorned all local functions and became objects of adoration in religious ceremonies. No other tree crop has carved a place similar to that of coconut palm in the life and traditions of the people spread over the major coconut growing, countries.

The selection methods for planting material evolved by the traditional farmers and practised at the homestead and community levels contributed to the genetic improvement of coconut palm. The mass selection method presently followed in the coconut growing countries is a continuation of the traditional technology. The traditional farming communifies were also conscious of the importance of conserving the natural resources for achieving sustainable levels of biological production. The approaches adopted in this regard have strengthened the ecological base of coconut farming as well as the household economy of the dependent farmers. Diverse models of coconut based farming system have been evolved depending on the prevailing edaphic and climatic conditions. These models comprised compatible species of trees, shrubs and agricultural crops with or without livestock including poultry, inland fish etc. as components. As a result of such integration, the hazards of erosion are minimized, structural stability of the soll and biodiversity of the soil life are enhanced and the underlying productivity of the soll resource is stimulated and sustained. The farmers also developed eco-friendly cultural practices including those directed agamist pests and diseases without resorting to the use of chemical inputs.

The fanning systems and practices developed and perfected over the generations have gained general acceptance as ecologically sustainable. As such, they found applications in most of the countries and their significance has not faded despite the advances made in conventional agriculture. The processing technologies developed by the earlier generations of coconut farmers are followed even now without substantial improvements or changes. These technologies are also environments-friendly and do not cause resource depletion or degradation. Likewise, all the coconut products inluding those utilized in industrial applications are biodegradable and do not disturb ecosystem stability. Thus, coconut fanriing and product utilization are nature-friendly and, hence, sustainable.

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