Coconut industry needs to adopt innovation and sustainability with the support of a comprehensive strategy to promote cultivation, scientific crop management and value-addition aimed at tapping the huge national and global market for the crop cultivated in many parts of the country, according to experts at a meet here.
They were speaking at an industry stakeholders meet on cultivation, crop management and value-addition of coconut, organised by CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (CSIR-NIIST) on its campus at Pappanamcode today.
The meet was organized in association with International Coconut Community (ICC) and Coconut Development Board (CDB), close on the heels of the World Coconut Day, celebrated on September 2 to promote the importance of coconut and its contributions to the economy, agriculture, and health, besides raising awareness about the benefits of coconut cultivation and consumption. The theme for the World Coconut Day this year is “Sustaining Coconut Sector for the Present and Future Generation.”
Executive Director of the International Coconut Community, Indonesia, Dr Jelfina C Alouw, said quality, sustainability and competitiveness in coconut industry are vital.
“We have to leverage innovation to improve the market potential of coconut, which can be used as bio-fuel and for culinary needs. It is a prominent crop that ensures food security of common people,” she added.
Noting the importance of coconut for human health, Dr C Anandharamakrishnan, Director, CSIR-NIIST, Thiruvananthapuram, said coconut production has been dwindled due to global warming.
Presiding over the meet, Dr Anandharamakrishnan said “Promoting research, studies and awareness on scientific cultivation and management of principal crops is an area of prime focus for CSIR-NIIST.
Coconut is an important crop of profound economic and cultural importance for many parts of the country, especially for Kerala.
Dr B Hanumanthe Gowda, Chief Coconut Development Officer, CDB, highlighted the challenges faced by the farmers in terms of fluctuations in price for their produce and lack of comprehensive strategy for processing.
KLF Nirmal Industries Managing Director Paul Francis pointed out the problems faced by the coconut industry, including the need for standard branding and labeling of coconut oil, testing methods for differentiation of sulphur and non sulphur copra oil, technology for effective utilization of coconut water especially matured coconut water and the need for developing FSSAI standards for coconut products like coconut sugar.
A technical seminar on ‘Sustainable Coconut Processing Strategies for Global Market’ was also held, followed by technical sessions and panel discussions on R & D interventions for the cultivation, crop management and value addition of coconut.
The major focus of the sessions was on building up of strategies for the cultivation, post harvest value-addition, ensuring a sustainable global market for coconut and allied products.
International Coconut Community (ICC) officials, industry representatives, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), policy makers, officials from Central and State Governments agencies, agri business experts, research and academic experts attended the event, besides discussing various opportunities and challenges related to coconut processing and value chain.