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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

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Coconut board draws up promotion plans

Our Bureau

Kochi , May 23

THE Coconut Development Board, as part of its silver jubilee celebrations, has chalked out various programmes including a four-day coconut festival, an exhibition, quiz competitions and seminars from May 27.

More than 60 manufacturers of coconut-based products from different States are expected to participate in the exhibition to be held in association with research and government bodies, the board's Chairperson, Ms Minnie Mathew, told a press conference.

The exhibitions and seminars will provide a forum for interaction to know the latest in coconut farming and processing.

The board is also organising a series of seminars on health and coconut in Coimbatore, Thiruvanathapuram and Mumbai, with senior scientists and experts.

An international seminar on coconut will be held in Goa on December 10 and 11 with the co-operation of the Asia and Pacific Coconut Community of Jakarta to review the progress made in the field in the last decade. Experts from Philippines and Sri Lanka are expected to participate said Ms Mathew

Announcing the setting up of ten national awards, each with a cash prize of Rs 25,000, to promote coconut farming and processing, Ms Mathew said the awards would be presented at the valedictory function of the jubilee celebrations slated in January next year.

The board, she said, has made significant contributions in expanding the area under coconut farming, increasing the availability of quality planting materials, management of pests and diseases, development of technology for product diversification and by-product usage, widening the market for coconut products especially in North India, and increasing the consumption of coconut oil and tender coconut.

The Government has sanctioned 105 projects under the Technology Mission for coconuts. It covers four areas - pests and disease management, processing and products diversification, market research and technical support.

The Ministry has sanctioned Rs 213 crore; the contribution of the Board for these projects is Rs 19.75 crore.

The board is setting up analytical and microbiological labs in Bangalore and Vazhakkulam in Kerala with an investment of Rs 1 crore, said Ms Mathew.

The board's efforts in promoting product diversification and product development has started yielding positive results in terms of price stabilisation, she said.

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