H/A: 2401-00-103-87 Rs. 6895.00 lakh
The strategy proposed for coconut development is to enhance the production and productivity through replanting with new and high yielding palms and integrateddevelopment of coconut through better management practices. During 2023-24, an amount of ₹ 6895.00 lakh is allocated for coconut development programmes under the following components.
Scientific and timely adoption of management practices of the existing and newly planted palms including soil test based nutrient application, irrigation and pest and disease management and multiple cropping systems are the activities targeted.
Comprehensive coconut rejuvenation and planting programme will be undertaken in 2023-24 through the activities of Coconut Mission. Kera Raksha Vaaraam will be conducted in June-July 2023, coinciding with the major planting season of coconut covering new and existing plantations. Under this programme, the healthy and productive coconut palms in the entire State will be subject to basin opening and crown cleaning along with lime application, soil test based integrated nutrient management and integrated pest and disease management operations in a campaign mode. Application of green manure in basins and prophylactic /curative application of biocontrol agents will also be promoted. The activities of Keragramam will also be integrated into this programme for efficient use of the resources. Application of micro and secondary nutrients will also be supported based on soil tests. The assistance will be provided in kind, wherever possible to ensure effective utilization of the funds earmarked for the purpose. All operations will be carried out with the support of LSGD and MNREGS. Mechanization of farming activities and effective utilization of Karshika Karma Sena to overcome the shortage of labour will also be focused. The facilities available with Agro Service Centres, Karshika Karma Sena and Custom Hiring Centre in the form of labour, agro machinery and other inputs will be utilized. The rate of assistance to Keragramams will be reduced to selected components during 2nd and 3rd year. The fourth year grant for coconut seedling production in Aralam Farm is also included under Coconut Mission. An amount of ₹ 4295.00 lakh is set apart for these activities.
The main objectives of Coconut Mission are to revive the coconut wealth of Kerala through a campaign of replanting and maintenance; to enhance productivity of coconut; and to ensure forward linkages with agro-industry. There is a need for replanting at least 75 coconut seedlings per ward every year in the state with the support of KAU, CDB, CPCRI, Farmer Producer Organisations, PACS and local governments. 25 per cent of the seedlings produced through Kerala Agricultural University will be distributed through the University. The activities under mission include cutting and removal of old, senile, unproductive and diseased palms, replanting and under planting with high yielding semi tall and dwarf varieties, rejuvenation of existing gardens by adopting integrated management practices and effective supply of seeds nuts.
An amount of ₹ 2500.00 lakh is set apart for coconut seed nut procurement and seedling production through the Departmental farms and distribution of seedlings as part of coconut mission.
The Coconut Producer Companies (CPC) in the State had availed loans for infrastructural development from institutional sources at higher rate of interest. These entities due to reduction in business activity due to various reasons including the pandemic, could not repay the loans availed from the institutional sources. This acts as an impediment to their improving the credit worthiness. During 2023-24, a new component is introduced in the budget to help the CPCs wipe off a part of their interest burden and bring the viable companies back to business. An amount of ₹ 100.00 lakh is earmarked for this component. Only potentially viable CPCs as evident from the balance sheet will be eligible for this interest subvention assistance from the budget. The viability will be assessed in terms of last three years balance sheet, level of business activity assessed through business volume, debt service history, effectiveness of board, financial statements obtained directly from the institutional lender.
The gap for assistance and scope for viability will be assessed by the Department of Agriculture with the help of an expert team with a proven track record. The gap will be equal to or less than the difference between the contracted interest rate of the existing loan and the prevailing interest rate under Agri Infrastructure Fund. In none of the cases, the assistance will cover penal interest rates/charges/other bank charges. The amount recommended by the assessing team for each CPC will be scrutinized by a committee under the chairmanship of the Agricultural Production Commissioner. The members of the committee will comprise of Secretary (Agriculture), Secretary (Industry), MD,Kerala Financial Corporation, Chief, Agriculture, State Planning Board, SLBC Convenor, Kerala, Chief General Manager ,NABARD and Chairperson, Coconut Development Board. Once the approval of the committee is given, the comprehensive proposal will be placed in the Departmental Working Group for approval. After approval, the amount will be directly credited to the outstanding loan account of the CPC with the financial agency. The loan taken from other agencies such as Private banks, NBFCs and private lenders will not be eligible for such assistance. The above committee will also act in future as a guidance mechanism for revival of these units.