|Description | Overview |
History | Types of
coconut | Coconut producing
countries | Indian coconut market |
Major trading centers
Coconut is the large hard fruit of the coconut palm tree, brown in
color, which has husk like fiber surrounding a large seed. The
fruit is known by the name of Cocos nucifera botanically. Unlike
the name suggests, coconut is actually a fibrous drupe and not a
nut. The inner seed has coconut meat inside it that is consumed as
an important ingredient in various cuisines of the world. The
fluid in the seed is drunk throughout the world as it is
considered to be a healthy drink. As a matter of fact, coconut is
the largest seed known.
The coconut palm tree belongs to the palm family of Arecaceae
and is the only tree under the genus Cocos. The tree grows to a
height of around 30 meters and has feather shaped leaves. The
coconut palm is multipurpose tree like many other palm trees as
every part of the tree is used in vast number of products.
Coconut is the one of the fruits that has a high economic value.
This is because of the fact that the fruit as well as the tree,
both have a numerous uses. Several other products are derived from
the coconut palm and they too are used in many applications. Copra
is used to extract coconut oil and coconut meal in the ratio 3:2.
The products like hair oils, soaps, shampoos and medicines require
coconut oil as an important ingredient. Also the fruit is quite
popular in a vast number of cuisines. It is so much attached to
the emotions of the people in the Southeast Asia that it forms a
part of the mythology and culture in here and is also considered
auspicious in various ceremonies. That is the reason that coconut
tree is ranked among one of the 10 most useful trees of the world
and is often termed as the “tree of life”.
The world production of coconut currently is around 55
million tons, Indonesia having the highest production figures
accounting up to around 30% in world figures. The nut is
cultivated on around 26 million acres of land throughout the world
in more than 90 countries of the world. The production of coconuts
has increased significantly during the last decade with the
increase in the world demand. The world consumption figure in
context of coconut oil is around 3.8 million tons.
World trade in coconut complex is limited as
most of the produce is consumed at the place of its production.
The countries that have demand supply mismatch usually indulge in
the trade of the fruit. The exports of coconuts fluctuates
depending upon these factors and hovers around 1800000 tons per
year. The major exporters of coconut complex to the rest of the
Coconut has a long and varied history due
to a fact that coconuts can float on water. This
fact helped these fruits to disperse easily and
spread throughout the world. The exact origin of
coconut is subject to controversy, as some
historians believe that the coconut palm came
into existence in regions of Southeast Asia and
some believe that it originated in the southern
American region. The oldest fossils of coconut
had been recovered from Indian states of
Rajasthan and Maharashtra and some other fossils
from New Zealand dating back to around 15
million years ago. With the help of oceans and
humans who knew their value early on, like the
Polynesians who are considered to have played a
great role in human dispersion of the fruit,
coconut got spread in the tropical regions of
the world. The seeds of the fruit are able to
germinate even after being in water for 3 to 4
months and that was the reason that it got
spread much before it was domesticated.
Coconut became popular throughout the world and at some
areas it was the only source of food and water.
In Southeast Asia, it became a part of life and
culture and also gained significance in their
mythology. Indian writings as old as more than
2000 years include information about coconut.
With time, more and more uses of coconut palm
and their fruits were developed. In the end, the
coconut was brought to the western African and
the Caribbean region by the European intruders
in the 16th century.
Coconut palm is a tropical plantation that
requires hot and humid climate to prosper. It is
very good tolerant of salinity in the water and
soil and that is why it is generally found in
the coastal areas. The soil type that is
appropriate for the production of the coconut
palm is the sandy soil type. Also, consistent
rainfall and ample sunlight are also the key
factors for the effective growth of the coconut
palm. The creation of plantation is considered
to be difficult to establish and the propagation
of the trees is done with the help of its seeds.
The palm takes a long time to get mature i.e.
the flowers of the tree may appear within two to
seven years of the germination.
After 8 years, the tree starts to produce the fruits
and it is harvested according to the purpose for
which it is has to be used. If the nut is needed
for its water, it is allowed to ripen for just 5
to 6 months and then it is harvested. If copra
is required from the coconut, 8 to 10 months old
fruits are harvested. For the dry copra, the
coconut is allowed to ripen fully for 10-12
months and then harvested. The fruits are
harvested in bunches manually by the tree
climbers. Also the mature fruits that fall off
from the trees are also gathered.
Coconut fruit is categorized into two basic
categories according to their palms trees
Tall variety – Tall
variety of coconut is a slow growing variety.
The tree produces the fruit 6 to 10 years after
plantation, which is comparatively late as
compared to the other variety. The tree remains
productive even at the age of 80 to 120 years
and produces good quality of copra, oil and
other products. The fruits of the palm get
mature in 12 months duration.
Dwarf variety - The fruits
from the dwarf or short variety of trees are
fast growing variety i.e. the tree starts to
produce fruits in 4 to 5 years. This coconut
palm has a relatively short productive age. The
fruit may be of variable colors such as yellow,
red, green and orange.
Coconut is a popular plantation and is grown in
more than 90 countries of the world. Though, it is
quite hard to establish a coconut plantation but
once it is done, it proves to be quite beneficial
as the coconuts are harvested throughout the year.
The world production of coconut sums up to around
55 million tons annually. Indonesia and
Philippines are the major countries that produce
the maximum coconut fruits in the world. The
leading producers of the crop in the year 2005
with their production figures are mentioned in the
- Indonesia (16300000 metric tons)
- Philippines (14500000 metric tons)
- India (9500000 metric tons)
- Brazil (3033830 metric tons)
- Sri Lanka (1950000 metric tons)
- Thailand (1500000 metric tons)
- Mexico (959000 metric tons)
- Vietnam (940000 metric tons)
- Malaysia (710000 metric tons)
- Papua New Guinea (650000 metric tons)
The top most two countries
are serious competitors for the first position in
the list. But since last few years the production
in Philippines is decreasing gradually. The area
covered under the cultivation of coconut in the
world is around 26 million acres. The overall
production rate is in up trend since the last
decade as the production has risen around 25%. The
production level in context of coconut oil hovers
around 3.5 million tons per year and in context of
coconut oil cake is around 2 million tons.
coconut in India
Coconut has been a part of
the Indian culture and has been produced in India
since a very long time. Currently India stands
third in the list of the maximum coconut producing
countries of the world. The coconut produce in
India was. 14811.1 million
nuts in the year 2006. The area under the
plantation cultivation sums up to around 1.78
million hectares in the country. The states in
India that are indulging in the production of this
fruit with their annual average production figures
Kerala (6326 million
Tamil Nadu (4867.1
Karnataka (1209.8 million
Andhra Pradesh (892
West Bengal (323.5
Orissa (274.6 million
Assam (204.9 million
Kerala is the largest
producer of coconuts in India contributing to
around 45% share in the country’s produce.
Coconut oil is obtained from the copra with 65 to
70% recovery rate. Regarding the area covered
under the production of coconut, Kerala again
stands first among the other major states
indulging in the production.
Coconut has the Indian link since a long time in
history. The southern part of the country literally
thrives on coconut, it being a staple food there. It
also forms part of the Indian culture and also has
importance in numerous old rituals. India had been a
competent producer of coconuts in the world and
currently places on 3rd rank in the list of the major
coconut producers of the world. India produces 95
lakhs of coconut annually, Kerala being the largest
producing state. In the context of coconut
productivity, Maharashtra leaves all its competitors
behind with a rate of 914548 nuts per hectare.
The consumption of coconut is dominated by the food
sector and a significant part is also utilized in
obtaining coconut oil. The oil is further used in
industrial applications like hair oils, soaps,
shampoos etc. this demand in the country is much
higher than the current production which turns one of
the major coconut producing country into a net coconut
importer country. India imports the coconut in oil
form annually at over 150000 tons. The country also
exports small quantities of coconuts but it depends
upon the domestic yield.
Market Influencing Factors
Pests and diseases
fluctuations especially in the major producing
Supply and demand scenario of
Flow of information among the
trading centers of coconut
The major markets of coconut in the world are
- Sri Lanka
The future contracts of the
commodity are not traded anywhere outside India.
The major trading center of coconut in India is Kochi.
Coconut complex is traded in the Indian commodity
exchanges namely National Multi Commodity
Exchange of India ltd and Multi Commodity
Exchange of India ltd.