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Introduction

The coconut palm' (Cocos nucifera), is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The coconut is a large palm, growing up to 30 m (98 ft) tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m (13–20 ft) long, and pinnae 60–90 cm long; old leaves break away cleanly, leaving the trunk smooth. Coconuts are generally classified into two general types: tall and dwarf. On very fertile land, a tall coconut palm tree can yield up to 75 fruits per year, but more often yields less than 30, mainly due to poor cultural practices. A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg (3.2 lb). It takes around 6,000 full-grown coconuts to produce a tonne of copra. Coconut is cultivated in 18 states and 3 union territories in the country. Southern India alone contributes 90% of area and 91% of Production. Annual production of coconut is 21.89 billion nuts (2012-13).

Popular Varieties

List of Tall Varieties

  • West Coast Tall
  • East Coast Tall
  • Chandrakalpa or Lakshadweep Ordinary (LCT)
  • Phillippines Ordinary Kerachandra)
  • VPM - 3 (Andaman Ordinary)
  • Aliyar Nagar 1 (ALR 1)

List of Dwarf Varieties (Tender coconut)

  • Chowghat Orange Dwarf (COD)
  • Chowghat Green Dwarf (CGD)
  • Chowghat Yellow Dwarf (CYD)
  • Strait Settlement Dwarf Green
  • Kalpa Raksha

List of Hybrid Varieties

  • Kerasankara (WCT x COD)
  • Chandrasankara (COD x WCT)
  • Chandralaksha (LCT x COD)
  • Keraganga (WCT x GBGD)
  • Lakshaganga (LCT x GBGD)

Maturity Indices

  • Coconut usually matures in about 350 to 375 days after appearance of the inflorescence.
  • Colour of fruit changes from green to yellowish or brownish green.
  • The fruit produces peculiar metabolic sound on thumping.
  • All nuts in a bunch mature at the same time and uniformity.
  • They produce a resonant and ringing sound when hit with the harvesting knife or tapped by finger indicating that the husk is dry.
  • Immature nuts will produce a dull sound.

Harvesting

Twelve months old nuts are harvested at the interval of 30-45 days for seed as well as copra making and culinary purposes. However, for tender nut purposes 7 to 8 months old nuts are harvested. The nuts can be harvested using coconut climbers. Nuts which are 11 months old give fiber of good quality. This is suitable for coir fiber. Good quality copra can be obtained in short time by using these driers. Moisture content in copra for final use should be around 5-6%. In case of tall variety, the nuts harvested for seed purpose can be stored for 2 to 3 months period before sowing, whereas in case of dwarfs and hybrids, nuts should be sown with in a period of 10 –15 days of harvest. On an average, we can have eight harvests, though the coconut palm produces inflorescence every month. For oil extraction, nuts are generally sun dried for copra making. In this case there is a chance of dirt accumulation followed by oil quality deterioration, nuts can be dried in various types of driers available (Kiln, electric and solar driers) and also sun drying.

Packaging

Coconuts are packed in various types of containers,bags(coconut fiber netting bags containing 60 - 100 nuts, 50 kg jute poly sacks) depending on the market destination. Domestically marketed water coconuts may be sold in bulk or packed in large synthetic or mesh sacks of known fruit count per sack.

Storage

Storage of coconuts in cool, dry, good ventilated godown. Store the copra in polythene tar coated gunny bags. The oil yield of WCT palms under rain fed condition will be around 1.7 to 2 tons/ha.


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