COCONUT PRODUCTS CONTRIBUTED UP TO 8.8% OF THE TOTAL AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION.

Coconut Cultivation in Sri Lanka
Coconut cultivation has existed for local consumption since ancient times, but it was spread as a commercial crop during the colonial period.

Expansion of Coconut Cultivation:
The region known as the Coconut Triangle connecting the cities of Colombo, Kurunegala and Halawatha is the main cultivation area. The area around Ranna, Middeniya and Tangalle is important as the minor coconut triangle.


Apart from that, along a narrow coastal strip from Colombo to Tangalle, in Batticaloa and Jaffna peninsulas and in the dry zone areas with underground water, it is cultivated to a small extent.

Influencing Factors:

  • Having a hot humid climate.
  • Temperature up to 20-27 (Celsius).
  • Precipitation ranges between 2000mm – 2500mm annually.
  • Lowlands above 300m.
  • Having a sandy soil mixed with salt.
  • Human labor.

Trends:

  • Expanding the activities of the Coconut Research Institute.
  • Expansion of counseling services.
  • Encouraging people to grow coconut under subsidy as a home garden.
  • Prevalence of intercropping in coconut lands.
    • pineapple
    • Coffee
    • banana
    • pepper
  • Product diversification.
  • Disbursement of crop loans.

Problems:

  • Low yield.
  • Pest and insect hazards.
  • Selling coconut land in pieces.
  • Climatic disturbances.
  • Decrease in exports due to increase in domestic consumption.
  • Market access to substitutes for coconut products.
    • vegetable oil
    • Farm oil
  • The government did not provide enough support to increase coconut cultivation.

Steps taken to improve:

  • A development scheme has been introduced to cultivate new coconuts. It is called Kapruka Ayejana.
  • Under this, credit schemes have been introduced for coconut cultivation, intercropping, irrigation and farm mechanization.
  • Under cultivation has been introduced to increase the income of coconut farmers. Government support to grow passion fruit, banana, pepper and betel nut in those lands.
  • At present, steps have been taken to prepare various materials based on coconut products.
    • Coconut powder
    • Coconut cream
  • Introducing more productive coconut species through the coconut research laboratory located in Lunuwila. (by tissue implantation)
  • Various measures have been taken to reduce and control epidemic diseases affecting coconut cultivation.  

Related Industries:

  • copra (shredded coconut)
  • coconut oil
  • Vinegar
  • Coir industry
  • Furniture making
  • Making a variety of foods
    • Toffee
    • Biscuits
    • Alua
  • Manufacture of dried coconut milk

The population increases by one million every 6 years. An additional 200 million coconuts are needed to meet increasing local demand and consumption.

Goals by 2030

  • Increasing current production of 3 billion coconuts by 40% to achieve a net production target of 4.2 billion annually.

Action plan

  1. To gather knowledge on the development of the coconut sector, commenting on current global and local best practices.
  2. Coconut Research Board, Coconut Cultivation Board and Coconut Development Authority should work as one unit to develop this sector.
  3. Setting up of regional offices close to coconut planted areas. If not, relocating/increasing the number of regional offices to meet the needs of these coconut plantations.
  4. Expansion of coconut plantations by 20%, i.e. 200,000 additional acres for coconut cultivation.
  5. The total area currently used for coconut cultivation is 1,095,000 acres. To increase the area under coconut, covering 14,022 gram niladhari domains, with the participation of agriculture development officers, to identify the area of ​​existing land where 50 trees per acre can be increased to 60 trees per acre.
  6. Creation of training videos in Sinhala and Tamil to cover the following points for training all Agricultural Development Officers in each Village Officer Division.
    • How to identify vacant land in existing coconut plantations (of smallholders).
    • How to identify other small plots of land that can be used for coconut planting
    • Cultivation practices
    • Water management
    • Nutritional management
    • Pest and Disease Management
    • Farm equipment for coconuts
    • Harvesting and postharvest technologies
    • Coconut processing
    • Schemes and services for coconuts
    • Marketing strategy for coconut
    • How to maintain farmer-officer relationship?
  7. Coconut seed production in 2020 is only 2 million seedlings. The target for 2021 is to increase the number of seedlings to 4 million per year. If 4 million seedlings continue for the next 10 years, that’s 40 million trees planted in a decade.
  8. 2,500 – 3,000 coconuts are grown per acre. On average, there are 50 to 60 fruits per tree. An average of 50 such coconut trees are responsible for one acre. Compared to countries like India and Indonesia, the amount of nuts produced per tree in Sri Lanka is less. Hybrid coconut varieties should be introduced to increase the number of fruits to 60 to 90 per tree.
  9. To meet the shortage of seeds of high yielding coconut varieties in Sri Lanka, 6,400 seedlings of any hybrid coconut variety should be provided to encourage people who own land of 100 acres or more. Thus, a policy decision should be taken to establish 10 large-scale coconut seed farms belonging to the private sector.
  10. The success of this project will be that 3 million coconut hybrid seedlings will be available.
  11. Regular supply of fertilizers in every village.
  12. Creating educational videos on water management in coconut cultivation and giving farmers the opportunity to watch and learn on YouTube with free access.
  13. Introducing an application similar to the coconut expert system introduced by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in India.
    • Cultivation practices for coconut
    • Water management for coconuts
    • Nutrient management for coconut
    • Pest and Disease Management for Coconut
    • Farm Implementation (Equipment) for Coconut
    • Harvest and postharvest technology for coconut
    • Coconut processing
    • Schemes and services for coconuts
    • Marketing and Institutions for Coconut
  14. Conduct a comparative study with the Coconut Development Board of India and Indonesia to identify areas for improvement in areas such as new technologies, land expansion, development of seedling nurseries and initiatives for other new projects.
  15. Introduction of coconut varieties with short stem and slow growth in stem height.
  16. Introducing an orange variety with the same coconut water taste.
  17. Introducing Sweet Lattice Coconuts with a similar coconut water flavor to Thailand’s Sweet Lattice Coconuts for export purposes.
  18. Efficient inter-crop management,
    • Identifying the lands where other crops such as Rambutan, Turmeric, Pepper, Vanilla, Banana, Pineapple, Kattu Anoda have been cultivated for farmers to get better yield out of the ten lakh acres of land currently under coconut cultivation.
    • In order to get a better harvest for the farmers out of the ten lakh acres of land currently cultivated with coconut, the lands where other crops such as rambutan, turmeric, pepper, vanilla, banana, pineapple, kattu anoda have not been cultivated are identified and the above mentioned inter Introducing crops.
  19. Export earnings of other products such as coconut oil, coir, coconut shell, finished products (coir related) as well as coir and coconut related handicrafts/timber were US$ 665 million in 2020. Tea exports were US$ 1,240 million and rubber was US$ 816 million.
  20. Total households in Sri Lanka are 5.7 million. Of that, 36% (2 million) use a blender. Only 50% (one million) of them use blenders to extract coconut milk. For the rest of the million families who currently do not use blenders to extract milk, a video on how to use a blender to extract coconut milk can be made.
  21. In order to reduce the use of oil in domestic cooking, appliances that do not use oil such as air fryers can be introduced.
  22. Formulate strategies to subsidize 5% of planted coconut acres (50,000 acres). Currently, only 3,000 acres are benefiting from subsidies, which is only 0.3% of the total area under coconut cultivation.
  23. Discourage selling coconut oil as loose oil. Often, vendors who sell loose coconut oil add palm oil as a way to increase the amount of coconut oil, as it is expensive to buy pure coconut oil.

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