Kerala loses ground in coconut production

Written by Sajan C Kumar | Chennai | Updated: Mar 9 2010, 04:08am hrs
Kerala can no more take pride in claiming the top slot in coconut production. Kerala's share in area as well as production of coconut in the country has been declining over time. The share of area declined from 57% in 1991-92 to 43% in 2007-08, while Karnataka and Tamil Nadu together share in area under coconut rose from 29% in 1992-93 to 41.43 % in 2007-08, according to statitistcs released in Kerala State Planning Boards Economic Review 2009.

The only relief was that production improved by 2.17% in 2008-09 over the previous year in the state after declining for three years consecutively.

In India, coconut is grown in an area of 1.90 million hectares, producing 14,744 million nuts with a per hectare productivity of 7,747 nuts. With a coverage of 7.81 lakh hectare, coconut occupies 38 % of the net cropped area.

The productivity levels in Kerala are also lower than other major producing states. The productivity in Kerala is 12.46% lower than the national average in 2007-08. Productivity in 2007-08 in Maharashtra was 8,338 nuts and 12,954 nuts in Tamil Nadu.

According to the review, massive replanting of root wilt affected palms with seedlings of elite palms could be implemented immediately as approved by the government . The present level of adoption suggests, the need for further intervention to enhance technology adoption. Generation of technologies for different agro ecological situations may improve the level of adoption.

Integrated farming system with due emphasis on multi-tier cropping systems needs to be promoted in different agro ecological situations for improving income of the farmers.

The review suggests that effective harvesting machines also need to be developed for promotion. Restructuring of the cluster development programme was also essential for more effectiveness.

Even though the support price of Rs 4,450 per quintal was announced for 2009-10, the procurement system needs strengthening. The steps taken in the last quarter of 2009-10 should be consolidated for increasing procurement operations through cooperatives, it says.