Alappuzha: The Coconut Development Board (CDB) has sought an allocation of Rs 2,600 crore for the 12th Five-Year Plan for implementing various developmental programmes.
"We have sought Rs 2,600 crore from the Agriculture Ministry for the next five-year Plan to develop the industry and promote it both domestically and globally," a CDB official told reporters on the sidelines of the Coir Kerala International Trade Fair here today.
During the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-12), the fund allocation to the board was Rs 395 crore and up to December 31, 2011, expenditure reached Rs 354 crore, according to the estimates of the CDB.
The official said the board plans to spend these funds on enhancement of productivity, expansion of cultivation to newer areas in the non-traditional belts, promotion of value-added coconut items, development of innovative technology and increasing exports of coconut and its bye-products.
"Interest towards coconut farming is coming up in non-traditional and North Eastern states. In Odisha and West Bengal, more farmers are turning to coconut cultivation," the official said.
The council is looking at coconut-based integrating farming system which could address the problem of unemployment and also ensure sustainable development in districts of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.
At present, the average productivity of coconut in the country is 8,303 nuts per hectare (i.e. 48 nuts per palm a year).
The official said the production could be increased significantly so that it could help in bringing down the cost of production and make coconut items and its bye-products internationally competitive.