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Strategic Efforts To Enhance The Competitiveness Of Coconut Industry In India

Recognizing the importance of coconut in the rural economy of the coconut growing States in India, concerted efforts have been made for the balanced growth of the industry. The national research system for coconut is fully equipped to face the challenges. The CPCRI (Central Plantation Crops Research Institute) with its regional net work is working on coconut covering the disciplines of crop improvement, agronomy, pest and disease management and processing techniques. Research work is also being done in the State Agricultural Universities and Central Institutions. More than 13 hybrids and high yielding cultivars have been released for cultivation in the country. The research on cropping system has evolved cropping system models appropriate to diverse conditions. Insect pests and diseases affecting coconut have been subjected to detailed study and integrated management strategy has been worked out. However, problems like coconut root-wilt eriophyid mne, etc. are preivailing and remedial measures are yet to be evolved. Transfer of technologies is largely effected through Coconut Development Board, the national agency established for the integrated development of coconut industry in the country. The Board implements many development programmes with focus on Production of quality planting material, area expansion under coconut, productivity improvement, product development, information dissemination and support to the farmers for adoption of technologies. The efforts made for enhancing production and productivity of coconut have resulted in significant increase in the area under cultivation and production and productivity. The present production of coconut in India is 12,597 million nuts from 1,84 million ha showing an average productivity of 6,848 nuts per ha. Besides the Coconut Development Board. Coir Board also supports the industry for commercial exploitation of coconut husk. The efforts have resulted in the development of large number of small scale industrial units in the rural areas, which provide employment lo a sizeable section of rural poor and also earn foreign exchange of more than Rs,3 136 million. India has a large domestic market for coconut and its products. The copra and coconut oil produced in India are priced higher than the international prices and as such, they are not competitive for export trade. There is however, export potential for value added products. The recent price fall and wide spread prevalence of root-wilt disease and infestation of eriohyid mite have affected the coconut growers across the country, especially where the coconut is largely being used for copra and oil. The Coconut Development Board has formulated a new development strategy for making a balanced and vibrant coconut industry. The strategic components are promotion of profitable farming systems, product diversification, market promotion and awareness creation about the special qualities of coconut products. Realizing the importance of coconut, The Govemment of India have launched a Technology Mission for the crop with a view to strengthen the coconut based economy of the producing states. Under the Mission, focused attention will be given on product diversification value addition, intensive integrated farming, market research and market promotion. These measures are expected to revitalize the domestic coconut industry and make it globally competitive.

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