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Coconut industry to thrive

COLOMBO: The Plantation Industries Ministry will invest Rs. 48,475 million to increase coconut production to meet the demand of 3,800 million nuts by 2016, Plantation Development Project Director Raja Premadasa said.

The coconut industry provides livelihood for nearly five million people in the production, processing and marketing sectors and it is grown in 394,836 hectares which is equivalent to 20 per cent of cultivable lands in the country.

The National Plantation Industry Policy has identified five main potentials in the industry and has prepared a policy mix to enhance the productivity, profitability and sustainability.

Around 70 per cent of the production is consumed locally as the second main component of daily food recipe accounting for 22 per cent of the daily caloric requirement of an average Sri Lankan.

Coconut cultivation occupies 20 per cent of the cultivable land and there is a potential for increasing the land extent as initialised lands are available in non traditional areas. Coconut based products have demand in the international market with ample prospects for diverse products from coconut kernel, coir, shell, and other parts of the palm and value addition.

Coconut is regarded as one of the most valuable tree crops in the world because of its multitude of uses and thereby the opportunities for increasing the incomes of rural farmers and their families where all family members can engage in coconut related income generating activities.

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