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COCONUT

Bot.Name Family Origin

: Cocos Nucifera L. : Palmae Indo-Malyan Region

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The Coconut palm is a versatile crop and the most useful palm of the world. It provides nutritious food and refreshing drink, oil for edible and non-edible uses, fibre of commercial value, shell for fuel and industrial uses, tatch, alcoholic beverage, lunmber and a variety of miscellaneous products for use as domestic fuel. Hence, it is rightly called Kalpavriksha..
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It is unique in the sense, that once it starts bearing, the production phase continues uninterrupted throughout its life of over 80 years. The coconut grower is, thus, assured of a regular income from plantation

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Coconut is cultivated in more than 80 countries in the world. India ranks third in world area and production after Philippines and Indonesia.

In India Coconut is cultivated in an area of 1.51 million ha with an annual production of 11.3 thousand million nuts
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Though, several states grow coconut in the country, about 90% of its cultivation is shared by the southern states viz., Kerala, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh. Kerala alone accounts for 60% of the total area under coconut in India. The cultivation is spread over the entire coastal belt of the country. The crop is also grown in the states of Goa, orissa, Maharashtra, Assam, west Bengal Gujarat and Union territories.
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In Andhra Pradesh, coconut cultivation is largely confined to coastal districts. It is cultivated in East Godavari (32,920 ha), Srikakulam (10, 120 ha); west Godavari (7920 ha), Vishakapatnam (4340 ha) chitoor (2000 ha) and Vizianagaram (1400 ha) districts.

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ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE:

Coconut is one of the most important sources of vegetable oils in the world, having average 65% oil in the Kernal (oil palm 46%): copra and coconut oil are the traditional commodities in the world markets of oils and fats.
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In addition coconut also supplies a variety of raw materials for a number of industries and provides employment to more than 10 million people directly or indirectly.

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The coconut based industries include coir manufacture, copra processing, oil milling and distillery. Export of coir goods alone earn Rs.260 million foreign exchange annually for the country.

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BOTANY

Coconut is a tall, unbranched palm growing to a height of 15 30 mts. It has a stout trunk, raising from a swollen base (bole), surrounded by a mass of fibrous roots. The stem terminates into a radiating crown of leaves (fronds). Leaves are large, long and pinnately compound.
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Coconut seedlings

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The palm is monoecious and produces normally one inflorescence in the leaf axil, every month.
The inflorescence is enclosed in a strong, though, double sheath called spathe, which when fully grown splits longitudinally and releases the inflorescence Inflorescence has a main axis and 30 40 flower bearing spiklets.
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Male flowers (250 350) appear at the terminal portion of the spikelet, while female flowers (buttons) appear at the basal portion of the spikelet. (2-5).

Male flower contains 6 statements and the female flower has tricorpic ovary.

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Male flowers on the same spikelet open earlier than the female flowers, necessitating cross pollination.

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The female flowers, necessitating cross pollination. The female flower production in coconut in India is high during March to May and low from September to January. Winds and insects are the pollinating agents.
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Fruit is a large, one seeded drupe, round or avoid in shape. The fruit has a smooth, thin green skin (exocarp) below which there is thick and fibrous husk (mesocarp). Underneath this husk is the nut, having a hard outer layer (endocarp or shell), a thin testa (red or brown in colour) cohering to the endocarp and a thick albuminous (white) endosperm (meat or kernel), enclose a cavity filled with water and an embryo at the tip of the meat.
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Underneath this husk is the nut, having a hard outer layer (endocarp or shell), a thin testa (red or brown in colour) cohering to the endocarp and a thick albuminous (white) endosperm (meat or kernel), enclosed in a cavity filled with water and an embryo at the tip of the meat.

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VARIETIES:

They are two recognized varieties of coconut viz. The Talls and the Dwarf. The tall varieties are extensively cultivated throughout the world and India also. The cultivars of coconut are usually known by the name of the place where they are largely grown.
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Besides talls and dwarfs, coconut hybrids have been developed with different combinations and are known by the names of the parental forms involved in their production.

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TALL VARIETIES

They are hardy, reach a height of 30 mt and live up to 80 years or morel. They have a stout trunk and a bole and come to bearing late (6-8 yrs.) Fully developed leaves measure 6m. They are regular bearers and are largely allogamous (crosspollinated).
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The copra, oil and fiber are of good quality. The tall varieties largely grown in India are the west coast Tall (WCT) and East coast Tall a (ECT). Others like Laccadivi ordinary, Laccadivi Micro, and Andaman ordinary are largely grown in Union territories of Laksha Dweep and Andaman Nicobar Islands.
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Talls yield 70 -100 nuts annually, with 165-175 g. copra per nut and 70% oil. In our state 95% of the coconut area is under East coast Tall variety.

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DWARFS

Dwarfs are characterized by their short stature (5 m) and earliness in bearing (precocity) (3-3 years after planting). They are short lived (40-50 yrs.) Trunks are without bole. Fully developed leaf measures rarely 4m, though prolific, often exhibit alternate bearing. They are autogamous self-pollinated).
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Nuts small, copra soft and leathery with low oil content. Dwarfs are mainly grown for tender nuts and as ornamental palms and also for hybrid coconut production.
Dwarfs exhibit three nut colours viz., green, yellow and orange.

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The common dwarfs available in India are: chowghat orange Dwarf, chowghat Green Dwarf, Malyan Green Dwarf, Malayan yellow Dwarf, Malayana orange Dwarf, Gangabondam (Semi tall type) etc.
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The traditional method of cracking a coconut to separate its husk and shell is very primitive and inefficient, even though today the Copra processing industry uses highly technical methods for other operations.

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In view of this fact, a simple tool has been developed by Dr.S.Eswara Reddy Senior Scientist (Hort) RARS Anakapalli. It will de husk approximately 100 to 200 coconuts per hour.

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WORKING

The coconut is struck manually against the close-toothed blades. Next the pedal is pressed down. the lever action snaps the coconut husk in to pieces. Two or three subsequent operations are needed to separate the core completely.
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However, regular plantings with dwarf types are not taken up in India. This may perhaps be due to the fact that the dwarfs require better growth conditions and better care for satisfactory performance, low yields and poor quality of copra.

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