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Strategic Agenda For Improving Competitiveness Of Coconut Industry In The Midst Of Challanges From Competing Products

Coconut oil and copra have been the traditional products of importance in consumption and trade. These products have profound influence on the domestic economy of the major coconut producing countries. In the liberalized economy, coconut oil is facing competition from cheaper oils of which palm oil and palm kernel oil are the closest competitors. The declining trend in the prices of coconut oil has caused sluggishness in the industry in all the countries. The concern to embark upon alternative strategic efforts focusing on product diversification and byproduct utilization is visible all over the Asian and Pacific region. While Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam have envolved appropriate processing technologies and put them into commercial application, yet there is further potential which needs to be harnessed. India has also succeeded in developing new technologies and products. Cost reduction, value addition and productivity improvement arc to be achieved to make coconut industry competitive. The strength of the industry lies in its versatility, nutritive value as well as medicinal properties of the products and the ecofriendly nature of coconut farming. Coconut oil, despite the still competition it faces from other oils, can be projected as a health oil and a renewable source of energy in the diverse applications. Tender coconut also shows potential for popularizing as a source of nutritive beverage and lender kernel. Another product poised for future is coir geo textiles, a value added coir product. Intensified Research and Development efforts for the diversification of products and enabling the farmers for improving their farm level income through appropriate farming systems, organic farming and farm level processing shall be the foremost strategic agenda to meet the challenges and increase the competitiveness. In this process. APCC can play a significant role as a facilitator for exchange of technologies and their adoption for mitigating the problems associated with coconut currently.

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