Coconut production area has increased by 123 hectares

After the cyclone Thane, Puducherry lost close to 50 per cent of all its coconut trees, which meant that coconuts had to be imported in large numbers, increasing the price of coconuts and coconut-related products. The Department of Agriculture has since taken up a number of Centrally sponsored schemes to help increase the number of trees in the Union Territory.

Through their efforts, they have managed to increase the area of coconut production by 123 hectares since 2011. There has also been an increase in the number of farmers from 810 to 840 in the same period, a senior official from the Department of Agriculture said.

Initiatives

As part of their initiatives, the Department is providing subsidy for demonstration plots with Rs. 8,000 subsidy per hectare in two instalments.

In addition, they have also started encouraging Rs. 35,000 subsidy per hectare for integrated farming, which has been given to 30 farmers. There is also a third subsidy of Rs. 20,000 per unit to set up organic manure plants, the official said.

Through these initiatives, the production of coconuts in the Union Territory (UT) has increased by around 20lakh nuts from 2011-12 to 2012-13. The average production in Puducherry is over 14,000 nuts per hectare.

According to data available with the National Coconut Development Board, Puducherry has the fourth highest productivity per hectare of coconut trees in the entire country.

The National average for production of nuts per hectare is around 11,000 nuts, but in the Union Territory, the productivity is 14,800 per hectare, the official said.

This is because the Union Territory has been concentrating on commercial production of nuts. Through the department, there is also a concentration on biopesticides.

The Department has been distributing pheromone traps to the coconut farmers to control red palm weevils and rhinoceros beetle.

For pest control

They have also been distributing Baveria pesticide to control pests and also Metarezium that works against red palm weevils, the official said.

On March 8, the National Coconut Development Board is conducting their 117 annual meeting.

At the meet that will be held in Puducherry officials from different states will discuss the development of coconut farming in their areas, the official said.

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