Coconut production has increased substantially in India in the last four years with increase seen in both productivity and area under cultivation, a report by the ministry of agriculture & farmers welfare states. Higher production of nuts has also led to more export of coconuts and coconut oil. Coconut oil is used in household cooking in states like Kerala and Goa. It is also used in the bakery, hair oil and soap manufacturing industry. Out of the total production of nuts, only 35% is utilised for copra & coconut oil production. India is the world’s biggest buyer of vegetable oil, importing nearly 60% of its 16-17 million tonne annual consumption.
The report states that the country has become the leading producer of coconuts with productivity increasing to 11,516 fruits per hectare in 2017-18 as compared to 10,122 in 2013-14. Between 2014 and 2018, as much as 13,117 hectare was brought under new plantation as compared to 9,561 hectare during 2010-2014. Other leading producers of coconut are Indonesia and Philippines.
In coconut producing states, 62,403 hectare have been brought under scientific coconut farming methods as compared to 36,477 hectare in 2010-14. According to a report by state-run Coconut Board, nut production in the country for agriculture year 2015-16 is estimated at 22,167.45 million nuts. Major coconut growing states are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Odisha.
“Owing to an increase in production of coconut, India has been exporting coconut oil to Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka since April 2017. Till March 2017, India was importing coconut oil. Also, for the first time India has been exporting dry coconut in large quantities to the US and European countries. In 2017-18, India exported coconut worth Rs 1,602.38 crore while imports stood at Rs 259.70 crore,”the report said.
It added that in 2014-18, as much as 5,115 coconut production committees, 430 coconut growers’ federations and 67 coconut producing companies have been constituted while in 2010-14 period, it was 4,467, 305 and 15, respectively.
The income from export of coconut products stands at Rs 6,448 crore during 2014-18 as against Rs 3,975 crore in 2004-2014. Under the skill development programme for coconut sector ‘Friends of Coconut Tree’, 33,228 unemployed youths have been trained as compared to 27,770 in 2004-14.