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Small Scale Coconut Processing : Indian Experience

Coconut is a traditional crop of India. It is now grown in an area of 1.5 million hectares with an annual production of 9283 million nuts. 7he fresh nuts are in demand for social, religious and household culinary uses as well as for conversion into commercial products. Only around 40-45 percent of the annual production of nuts become available for further processing. The major processing activities are the production of milling copra, oil milling and the production of other kernel based products of direct food use such as edible forms of copra, desiccated coconut etc. While sun drying is the commonly adopted method for the manufacture of milling copra, different models of indirect dryers are slowly becoming popular. The traditional chekkus, rotaries and expellers are utilised for oil extraction. In the organised milling sector, the rotary units still outnumber expeller units. In some states in the country, edible copra, both in the ball and cup, forms, and desiccated coconut are produced. Processing activities based on the coconut sap and the by-products of coconut such as husk and shell have, also developed in some parts of the country. Conversion of coconut sap into brown sugar or jaggery is a traditional activity. Coir industry provides arplo3ment to over half a million people and produces valuable products for export trade. %i le bulk of the coir products belong to the white fibre sector, the brown fibre sector has been showing rapid growth during the last 5 - 6 years. The production of shell-based activated carbon is receiving renewed interest. Technological research on coconut has received a fillip in recent years and viable technologies are now available for successful product diversification and by-product utilisation.

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