Promote coconut agri-business and export: Shobha Karandlaje

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 3 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shobha Karandlaje, has called for the need to undertake coconut cultivation and processing as a commercial enterprise and target the export market to ensure remunerative returns to the small-holder farmers.

She was delivering the inaugural address of the 25th World Coconut Day celebrations organised by the Coconut Development Board in association with ICAR-CPCRI, Kasaragod, on Saturday in Kasaragod.

The Minister called upon the farmers to use various developmental schemes of the central government of India like the Kisan Samman Yojana, PM Fasal Bheema Yojana, and Agricultural Infrastructure Fund to improve production, value addition and export-oriented trade.

She highlighted the need to move to processing and product diversification thus enabling a shift from copra-centred processing to other products like neera, virgin coconut oil and coconut chips to ensure better price realisation.

The Farmer Producer Organisations can revolutionise the coconut sector by strengthening the collective power of the small and marginal farmers. They can help promote farm mechanization, undertaking agriculture as a business and export promotion, she added.

The Minister also honoured ten coconut entrepreneurs at the function. MoAs on technology transfer were executed with seven entrepreneurs in the presence of the Minister. Vadakara Coconut Farmer Producer Company Ltd, who secured the award instituted by the International Coconut Community for the best Farmer Organisation globally was also felicitated at the event.

More than 500 progressive farmers from the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Gujarat attended the programme. An exhibition showcased various technologies in coconut cultivation and processing and diversified coconut products. Around 25 institutions/entrepreneurs/FPOs participated in the exhibition. A technical session was also organized followed by a panel discussion on coconut business plans proposed by the FPOs.

N A Nellikunnu, MLA, Kasargode; Dr. V B Patel, ADG, ICAR, New Delhi; Renukumar, Vice Chairman, CDB; P R Muralidharan, President, BAMCO and Dr. B. Hebbar, Director, ICAR-CPCRI attended the function.

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