Coconut business gets Kerala new Lankan consulate

Written by M Sarita Varma | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: Feb 26 2014, 08:35am hrs
Despite a decreasing share in production, Kerala's coconut business has got the state a consulate from Sri Lanka. The island nation on Wednesday opened another consulate in Thiruvananthapuram apart from two in Mumbai and Chennai and two honorary consulates, in Bangalore and Kolkata.

"Sri Lankan business firms have been looking at opportunities with regard to coconut products from Kerala. Already, there are several companies in Sri Lanka that are marketing processed coconut products," A Jayaprakash, advisor to honorary counsel Joemon Joseph, told FE. Tourism is also another area of mutual interest.

"Cash crops and agro-industry based on them would benefit by the interface with Sri Lankan trade," said Kerala CM Oommen Chandy.

Not just that, a UAE consulate is also going to come up in thiruvananthapuram in a month or two, according to ambassador of the UAE to India Mohamed Sultan Abdalla Al Owais, Chandy said. This would help manpower export from Kerala and also boost demand for Indian food products in the Gulf belt.

The consulate of Maldives has been functioning in Thiruvananthapuram since July 2005. Russia was the next to set up its consulate. These initiatives would improve the tourism and agri-business relations with these countries, said HRD minister Shasi Tharoor.

Although Tharoor has been initiating the business synergy with Sri Lankan trade and the opening of the consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, the production of coconut in the state is not quite in the pink of health.

The state still remains the topper in coconut production, but the share in coconut area in the country is just 40.2% against production of 42.2%. In 1960-61, Kerala's share was 69.6% in area and 69.5% in production. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have improved their shares in coconut production in the subsequent decades.