COCONUT CULTIVATION

Coconut (Cocos nucifera) plays a significant role in the agrarian economy of India. Apart from the importance of copra and coconut oil which is widely used in the manufacture of soaps, hair oil, cosmetics and other industrial products, the husk is a source of fibre which supports a sizable coir industry. The tender nut supplies coconut water, a popular thirst quencher of health and hygienic value.

Distribution

Coconut is grown in more than 80 countries of the world with a total production of 49 billion nuts. India occupies a predominant position in respect of production of coconut in the world. The shares of coconut growing countries in production are: Indonesia (25.7%), Philippines (23.2%), India (23%), Sri Lanka (4.4%), others (13.7%) and other APCC countries (10%). The productivity of the crop is the highest in India with 7572 nuts/ha.

Traditional areas of coconut in India are the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Pondicherry, Maharashtra and Islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar. Non-traditional areas are the states of Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Tripura, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

Four southern states put together account for 92% of the total production in the country (Kerala 45.22%, Tamil Nadu 26.56%, Karnataka 10.85%, Andhra Pradesh 8.93% and other states 8.44%).

Coconut is a crop of small and marginal farmers since 98% of about five million coconut holdings in the country are less than two hectares. In the west coast of India, the palm is an essential component in the homestead system of farming where it is grown as rainfed.

Agro - climatic requirements

The coconut palm thrives well under an evenly distributed annual rainfall ranging from 1000 mm to 3000 mm. The palm requires an equitable warm and humid climate neither very hot, nor very cold. The mean annual temperature for optimum growth and maximum yield is stated to be 27 degree Celsius with a diurnal variation of 6 0C to 7 0C. The coconut palm thrives well up to an altitude of 600 m MSL.

The coconut palm can tolerate wide range of soil conditions. But the palm does show certain growth preferences. A variety of factors such as drainage, soil depth, soil fertility and layout of the land has great influence on the growth of the palm. The major soil types that support coconut in India are laterite, alluvial, red sandy loam, coastal sandy and reclaimed soils with a PH ranging from 5.2 to 8.0.

Selection of Site :

Shallow soils with underlying hard rock, low lying areas subjected to water stagnation and clay soils should be avoided. Proper supply of moisture either through well distributed rainfall or irrigation and sufficient drainage are essential for coconut.

Preparation of Land :

Size of the pit depends on the soil type and water table. In laterite soils large pits of the size 1.2m X 1.2m X 1.2 m may be dug which are filled with coconut husk for moisture conservation. The husk is to be burried in layers with concave surface facing upwards. After arranging each layer, BHC 10% DP should be sprinkled on the husk to prevent termite attack. In laterite soils, common salt @ 2 kg per pit may be applied, six months prior, on the floor of the pit to soften the hard pans.

Spacing and Planting :

In general square system of planting with a spacing of 7.5m to 9 m is practised. This will accommodate 177 to 124 palms per hectare. Planting the seedlings during May with the onset of pre-monsoon rain is ideal.

Varieties :

The tall varieties are extensively grown throughout India while dwarf is grown mainly for parent material in hybrid seed production and for tender coconuts. The tall varieties generally grown along the west coast is called West Coast Tall and along the east coast is called East Coast Tall. Benaulim is the tall variety grown in Goa and coastal Maharashtra.

Laccadive Ordinary, Laccadive Micro, Tiptur Tall, Kappadam, Komadan and Andaman Ordinary are some of the tall varieties.

Chowghat Dwarf Orange, Chowghat Dwarf Yellow, Chowghat Dwarf Green, Malayan Yellow Dwarf and Malayan Orange Dwarf are some of the dwarf varieties grown in India. Gangabondam is a semi tall type grown in certain tracts of Andhra Pradesh. Many hybrid combinations of tall and dwarf are also grown in the country.

Performance of coconut varieties/ Hybrids

 
Variety/Hybrid Yield

Nut/Palm/

Year

Copra Content

g/nut

Oil Content

%

Oil Yield

t/ha.

         
Indigenous                  
West Coast Tall 81 176 68 1.69          
East Coast Tall 86 100 63 0.96          
Banavali Green Round 151 151 68 2.74          
Kappadam 90 283 67 2.99          
Exotic                  
Fiji Tall 106 199 65 2.41          
Philippines Ordinary 108 196 66 2.65          
Chandrasankara

(COD X WCT)

98 208 68 2.47 Chandralaksha

(LO X COD)

99 195 68 2.31
Lakshganga

(LO X GB)

108 194 73 2.47 Keraganga

(WTC X GB)

100 201 69 2.48
Anandganga

(AO X GB)

95 216 68 2.47 ECT X

Gangabondam

140 150 68 1.69

Maintenance of Coconut Garden

Regular manuring from the first year of planting is essential to ensure good vegetative growth, early flowering and bearing and high yield. Organic manure at the rate of 25 - 50 kg per palm per year may be applied with the onset of south west monsoon when soil moisture content is high. Different forms of organic manures like compost, farmyard manure, bonemeal, fish meal, neem cake, groundnut cake, gingelly cake, etc. could be used for this purpose. Green manure crops like sunhemp, gliricidia, dhaincha, etc. could also be grown as intercrops to incorporate in the coconut basins later.

Manures and Fertilizers :

FYM at the following rates may be applied :

Year FYM (kg/plant)
1 40
2 20
3 25
4 30
5 35
6 45
7 onwards 50

Fertilizers may be applied at the following rate (g/plant) :

Year

Nutrients 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 onwards
N 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500
P 200 120 170 220 270 320 370 400
K 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000

Irrigation

Under basin irrigation, 200 l/ palm once in 4 days will be beneficial. In areas where water is scarce drip irrigation system can be adopted.

Pests & Diseases :

Pests

The major insect pests of the coconut palm are the rhinoceros beetle, the leaf eating caterpillar, red palm weevil, the root eating white grub, etc. These pests can be controlled by adopting the following measures:

Rhinoceros beetle: The beetle attacks fronds and cuts the leaves before opening. Killing the beetles by hooks mechanically is the most effective. The breeding places such as decaying organic matter, FYM, dead palms, etc. should be treated with insecticides. Biological control by release of exotic predator and bacteria infected beetles are effective measures.

Leaf eating caterpillar: This insect eats green portion of the plant. Spraying insecticides like carbaryl or endosulfan @ 2 g /l of water controls this pest.

Red palm weevil : The larva of the weevil bores into the trunk and feeds on the inner tissue making large holes. Externally exudation of reddish gum is only visible. The palm may die if the attack is severe.

Diseases

Coconut palm is affected by a number of diseases, some of which are lethal while others gradually reduce the vigor of the palm causing severe loss in the yield. Important diseases are bud rot, root wilt, leaf rot, leaf blight, mahali or fruit rot and nut fall, stem bleeding, ganoderma wilt, Crown choking disease, etc. Control measures of some of these diseases are stated briefly below.

Bud rot: Young plants are damaged most. Application of copper oxychloride @ 4g /l of water or Bordeux mixture in the leaf area can control the disease.

Stem bleeding: Exudation of reddish brown liquid through cracks on trunk which turn brown later is observed. Cavity may develop beneath the affected area. Scraping the affected area and then application of Bordeux mixture or copper oxychloride or mancozeb is recommended.

Farmers can keep in touch with the local officials of the Departments of Agriculture or Horticulture or Coconut Board for technical guidance to control the pests and diseases. The pests and diseases can be kept under control by adopting the recommended package of practices.

Harvesting

Coconuts are harvested at varying intervals in a year. The frequency differs in different areas depending upon the yield of the trees. In well maintained and high yielding gardens, bunches are produced regularly and harvesting is done once a month.

Coconuts become mature in about 12 months after the opening of the spathe. It is the ripe coconut which is the source of major coconut products. Nuts which are eleven months old give fibre of good quality and can be harvested in the tracts where green husks are required for the manufacture of coir fibre. Economic life of the coconut palm can be considered as 60 years.

Utilisation of Coconut

Coconut industry in the country is mainly confined to traditional activities such as copra making, oil extraction, coir manufacture & toddy tapping.

Products such as desiccated coconut, coconut based handicrafts, shell powder, shell charcoal and shell based activated carbon are also manufactured in the country on a limited scale.

Coconut development :

Development programmes in the country are mainly carried out by the Coconut Development Board. The Board's schemes are either implemented directly or through the department of Agriculture/Horticulture of the states.

Financial institutions have also formulated coconut financing schemes in potential areas both for fresh coconut planting and intensive cultivation. Integrated coconut development schemes with farm infrastructure facilities like well, pumpset, fencing, drip irrigation system etc. have also been considered.

Unit Cost :

The unit cost varies from state to state. The cost presented here is indicative only. The entrepreneurs and the bankers are requested to consult our Regional Offices for the latest information in this regard. The unit cost estimated for this model scheme is Rs.64,470/- per ha capitalised upto the seventh year. The break-up deatails are given in Annexure I.

Financial Analysis :

Results of financial analysis are indicated below :

NPW at 15% DF : Rs.62723 (+)

BCR at 15% DF : 1.96 : 1.00

IRR : 16.42%

Detailed analysis is presented in Annexure II.

Margin Money :

The margin money assumed in this model scheme is 5% of the total financial outlay.

Interest Rate :

Interest rate may be decided by by the banks as per the RBI guidelines.

Security :

Banks may charge such security as permissible under the RBI guidelines.

Repayment :

The bank loan with interest is repayable within 14 years with a grace period of 8 years. The details are presented in Annexure III.

Annexure I

Model scheme for development of Coconut in one Hectare

Spacing : 7.5m x 7.5 m

Plant population : 175     

Estimated Cost (Rs/Ha)

Sr Particulars Year  
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

onwards

  MATERIALS                
1 Planting Material (10% extra) 2880              
2 FYM 1900 963 1200 1450 1685 1925 2200 2300
3 Fertiliser 1300 1278 1660 2050 2435 2823 3200 3450
4 Irrigation 914 868 1100 1100 1265 1265 1400 1400
5 Plant protection 275 275 370 370 483 483 600 600
6 Fencing (Live Hedge) 750              
7 Sub Total 8020 3386 4333 4974 5873 6502 7400 7750
8 OPERATION & LABOUR 4500 1750 1750 2000 2000 2500 2500 3100
9 INTERCROP (Cucumber) 7000 6300* 5600* 4900* 4075*      
10 Grand Total 19520 5136 6083 6974 7873 9002 9900 10850
  Rounded off to 19520 5130 6080 6970 7870 9000 9900 10850
  Unit Cost 64470              
  Bank Loan 61247              

*Not to be capitalised

Projected Income

Yield of nuts Year
  1 - 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 onwards
Nuts/palm (Nos.) 0 10 20 40 50 60 70
Nuts No/ha. 0 1,750 3,500 7,000 8,750 10,500 12,250
Gross sale value @ Rs.5.50/nut (In Rupees) 0 9,625 19,250 38,500 48,125 57,750 67,375
Maintenance Expenditure (Rs/ha) 0 10,850 10,850 10,850 10,850 10,850 10,850

ANNEXURE II

Financial Analysis (Coconut)

Particulars /Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13-25  
Capital cost (Rs.) 19520 5130 6080 6970 7870 9000 9900              
Maintenance cos t(Rs.) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10855 10855 10855 10855 10855 10855  
Total cost (Rs.) 19520 5130 6080 6970 7870 9000 9900 10855 10855 10855 10855 10855 10855  
Income (Rs.) 0 0 0 0 0 0 9625 19250 38500 48125 57750 67375 67375  
Net Benefit (Rs.) -19520 -5130 -6080 -6970 -7870 -9000 -275 8395 27645 37270 46895 56520 56520  
DF at 15% 0.870 0.756 0.658 0.572 0.497 0.432 0.376 0.327 0.284 0.247 0.215 0.187 1.044  
PWC at 15% df 16974 3879 3998 3985 3913 3891 3722 3549 3086 2683 2333 2029 11333 65373
PWB at 15% df 0 0 0 0 0 0 3618 6293 10944 11896 12413 12593 70340 128096
NPW at 15% Df 62723                          
BCR 1.96                          
IRR 16.42%                          

Annexure - III

Repayment Schedule (Coconut)

Total Financial Outlay 64470

Margin money @ 5% of TFO 3224

Bank Loan 61247

(Amount in Rs.)

Year Loan disbursed Net benefit Interest @ 12% Deferred Interest Payment of Interest Payment of def.erred interest Repayment Principal Total outgoing Surplus Principal Outstanding
1 18544 -19520 2225 2225 0 0 0 0 -19520 18544
2 4874 -5130 585 2810 0 0 0 0 -5130 23418
3 5776 -6080 693 3503 0 0 0 0 -6080 29194
4 6622 -6970 795 4298 0 0 0 0 -6970 35815
5 7477 -7870 897 5195 0 0 0 0 -7870 43292
6 8550 -9000 1026 6221 0 0 0 0 -9000 51842
7 9405 -275 1129 7349 0 0 0 0 -275 61247
8 61247 8395 7350   7350 0 0 7350 1045 61247
9 61247 27645 7350   7350 1200 2247 13550 14095 59000
10 59000 37270 7080   7080 1200 5000 17280 19990 54000
11 54000 46895 6480   6480 1200 9000 17680 29215 45000
12 45000 56520 5400   5400 1200 10000 16600 39920 35000
13 35000 56520 4200   4200 1224 10000 30424 26096 25000
14 25000 56520 3000   3000 1325 25000 25000 31520 0

Repayment period is 14 years including 8 years grace period