Coconut cultivation has great potential in coastal Andhra

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh offers tremendous potential for coconut cultivation on over 5 lakh hectare of land from the existing 1.1 lakh hectare, according to a top official of the Coconut Development Board.

There is enormous potential for growing coconut in the entire coastal Andhra Pradesh and many other districts. The present area under coconut cultivation is around 1.1 lakh hectare and there is scope to grow coconut on around 5-5.5 lakh hectare of land, CDB chairman T K Jose told PTI.

"We look forward to Andhra Pradesh as a focused state as the area under coconut cultivation in Kerala and Tamil Nadu has almost saturated, and there is not much area left in Karnataka. Whereas, Andhra Pradesh offers more area and has better potential for processing and developing coconut enterprises," Jose said.

It will take minimum five years for the state to bring 5-5.5 lakh hectare area under coconut cultivation, he said, adding, "the CDB needs support from the horticulture department to increase coconut area under cultivation."

"Besides, farmers should come forward as they will be given high-quality seedlings from our nurseries, associate nurseries of agricultural department and private nurseries," he said.

CDB is a statutory body established by the central government for integrated development of coconut cultivation and industry in the country.

To promote integrated development of coconut throughout the country, the Board has undertaken several initiatives, including providing 25 per cent subsidy under Technology Mission on Coconut for minimum five years to motivate entrepreneurs for venturing into coconut processing sector.

In India, coconut is grown on a total area of around 19 lakh hectare and the annual production is 16,943 million nuts.

Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are the main growers in the country, together accounting for 90 percent of area (under coconut cultivation) and 93 percent of production, the CDB said.

Kerala leads with an annual production of over 600 crore coconuts on 7 lakh hectare area.

At present, Andhra Pradesh occupies the fourth position after Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka but its productivity (per hectare production of nuts) is much better.

East Godavari, West Godavari, Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam districts are in forefront. The state accounts for around 5.5 per cent in area (1.1 lakh hectare) and 6.15 per cent of production of coconut (over 100 crore nuts), according to CDB officials.

West Bengal, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have conducive agro climatic conditions wherein coconut-based integrated farming system can be introduced, they said.

Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal are traditional producers of coconut while Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand are the new non-traditional areas in the north. All seven states of North-East also grow coconut.