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Sri Lankan nuts go global

The Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Ministry will improve the quality of coconut products to compete in the global market and enhance foreign exchange earnings, Minister Jagath Pushpakumara said.

He said the ministry plans to increase national and international market demand by 30 percent by 2016 by creating awareness on the health preserving qualities of coconut products as a food intake.

"The ministry also plans to increase the export of coconut as a beverage by 40 percent within the next three to four years," the minister said.

He said coconut based industries in Sri Lanka play a vital role in sustaining a viable economy at all levels.

"The coconut production sector is divided into two sub sectors. They are coconut based manufacturing industries for the export market and cottage based industries that manufacture products and by products for the local market," Pushpakumara said.

Sri Lanka offers over 100 coconut products to the world market.

Desiccated coconut, copra, coconut oil, coconut milk powder, coconut cream are the main kernel based export products, while coir fibre, value added coir finished goods, geo textiles, fibre pith briquettes, shell charcoal, activated carbon and shell powder form the non kernel products, the minister said.

Coconut Development Authority statistics revealed that export earnings from coconut kernel products and non kernel products were Rs 29.08 billion and Rs 32.43 billion in the years 2009 and 2010 respectively.

Export earnings of desiccated coconuts in 2010 was Rs 5,383 million which amounts to 16.59 percent income from coconut based product exports.

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