Harvard prof calls coconut oil ‘poison’, but this fruit earns a billion dollars for India in Modi’s 4 years

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Published: September 4, 2018 4:21 PM

Even though a Harvard professor recently claimed coconut oil to be unhealthy and described it as ‘pure poison’, India’s export of coconut products has nearly doubled in the last four years.

India used to import coconut oil from countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka till last year. (Representative Image)

Even though a Harvard professor recently claimed coconut oil to be unhealthy and described it to be ‘pure poison’, India’s export of coconut products has nearly doubled in the last four years. During 2014-18, the export of products made out of coconuts has risen to Rs 6,448 crore in value terms compared to Rs 3,975 crore from 2004-14, PTI reported citing the agriculture ministry.

During a recent speech titled: “Coconut Oil and other Nutritional Errors”, Dr Karin Michels, professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and director of the Institute for Prevention and Tumour Epidemiology at the University of Freiburg, had alleged that coconut oil is “one of the worst foods you can eat” due to the adverse effect the saturated fatty acids in it can have on the human body.

Since the price of coconut products is becoming highly competitive, export of coconut products is expected to take a huge leap, the ministry also said. These exports are being promoted by giving 5 percent incentive under the new Foreign Trade Policy for 2015-20, the ministry also said.

India used to import coconut oil from countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka till last year. However, the scenario has changed now. India has started exporting coconut oil to these countries, ministry said. For the first time ever, India is exporting huge quantities to the US and Europe, it added.

The annual coconut production of India stands at 2437.80 crore and the productivity is 11,616 coconuts per hectare, according to the ministry’s data. The coconut crop is cultivated in nearly 21 lakh hectare and provides livelihood to over one crore people. The contribution of coconut crop is Rs 34,100 to the nation’s GDP.

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