The opposition has been trying to build a narrative that the farmers’ suffering has been on a rise in the recent years and the government actions have been benefitting only a handful of individuals. One can counter those charges by putting forth a number of initiatives like Swachh Bharat and Ujjwala to show that the administration has been reaching the last person all these days.
Adding to the list of positive developments, India’s coconut export surge is another feather in the cap of the government that would essentially benefit coconut farmers and all other stakeholders involved in the process of value addition and supply chain.
Coconut Export Surge- Numbers Speak
Consider this figure. From 2004-14, for the period of ten years, income earned from export of coconut products stood at Rs 3975 crore. During the period of 2014-18, that is for the period of 4 years under the Modi government, income earned from the export of coconut products increased to Rs 6448 crores.
More interesting observations could be made from this trend. India has started exporting coconut oil to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. Till last year, India used to import coconut oil from these countries. It is also to be noted that India is now exporting large quantities of dry coconut to US and European countries.
Amidst False Notions Against Coconut in the West
Considering the fact that there has been a misinformation campaign in the western countries against coconut, this surge is all the more intriguing. Recently a Harvard Professor had claimed that the coconut oil is pure poison and it is the worst food one can eat. As expected, such a claim received factual rebuttals from a slew of nutritionists and general public who declined to buy into such an argument and expressed their displeasure through social media platforms.
Nevertheless, the government over the years has also developed a narrative that can be helpful in battling any propagandas against coconut.
The Coconut Development Board through its various sponsored research programmes has brought before the world the goodness of not only coconut oil but also tender coconut and other coconut products. A factual narrative has been built that proves that the medium chain fatty acids present in the coconut oil make it disease resistant and heart friendly. It also shows that virgin coconut oil can actually help in the prevention of premature aging, curing of diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer diseases.
Supporting Coconut Farmers
The government has increased the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of milling copra from Rs 6500 per quintal to Rs 7511 per quintal and for ball copra from Rs 6785 per quintal to Rs 7757 per quintal. It also declared up to 5% incentive in the export value in its new Foreign Trade Policy for 2015-20, for the promotion of coconut product export. Under the skill development initiative, the Coconut Development Board has given training to more than 60998 youths and 2637 Neera technicians.
There has been an increase in coconut production due to the efforts made by the Modi government in the past four years. Productivity increased to 11,516 fruits per hectare in 2017-18 as compared to 10,122 in 2013-14. Between 2014 and 2018, 13,117 hectares was brought under new plantation as compared to 9,561 hectares during 2010-2014. In 2014-18, 5115 coconut production committees, 430 Coconut Growers’ Federation and 67 coconut producing companies were constituted which in 2010-14 stood at 446, 305 and 15 respectively.
This particular trend of coconut reaping its due, signifies the new energy that has been brought in to the farming sector.
Do read our previous article Four Years of Modi Government: Securing the interests of Farmers that gives you the overall transformational picture of Indian agriculture.