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Policies And Programmes For Inclusive Growth And Sustainable Development Of Coconut Industry

India is the second largest producer of coconut in the world next to Indonesia. Philippines and Sri Lanka are in the third and fourth position. Coconut palm provides food security and livelihood opportunities to more than 20 million people across the Globe and 10 million people in India. Inclusive growth and sustainability of coconut economy of the coconut growing countries can be achieved through integrated development of coconut cultivation and industry coupled with a stable market. Indian Coconut industry has achieved tremendous progress for the last 3 decades for which the Coconut Development Board (CDB) has been instrumental. Despite this, the crop is suffering due to many external factors and the small and marginal farmers have been often subjected to very precarious situation. Violent and recurring price crash, climate change and unprecedented incidence of pests and diseases, severe loss in farming, diminishing labour availability - all these are causal factors for the negligence of coconut farming. This situation therefore warranted a holistic approach for the revival of the coconut economy of all countries. The lost glory of coconut economy can be recaptured easily, as many opportunities and potential in coconut sector are being revealed from all countries. This is mainly in view of the growing demand of Tender Coconut Water as a natural drink of the globe and the medicinal and neutraceutical properties of virgin coconut oil. Immense scope for value addition and profitability is also being uncurled. Activated carbon from coconut charcoal is the typical example of the unexplored hidden treasure from coconut. CDB under Government of India has therefore of late taken a shift in strategy for aggregation of farmers for group activities, collaborative research for production of high yielding and hybrid seedlings, creating more climbers for harvesting and farming operations, etc., along with the objective of triggering production, processing and value addition. A structural change in this utilization pattern is also on the agenda to break the present over dependency on coconut oil-copra through long term and short term measures. Achieving higher productivity is the only way out for bringing competitiveness in coconut sector. Economically backward coconut farmers are unable able to survive the onslaught of competition. Therefore a 2-3 fold increase in productivity in the coming five year period is the targeted goal of India. The growth achieved by Indian industry will be translated in terms remunerative income to the producers. India is also aiming a quantum jump in export and look forward to have bigger share in the international markets so as to become globally competitive. To achieve these goals in a perspective manner it is necessary to re-engineer and revitalize both coconut cultivation and industry by promoting appropriate farming systems for generating multiple sources of food, income and employment as well as economically viable product and by product utilization for value addition. APCC countries should work together and grow together for attaining inclusive growth and sustainability in coconut sector.

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