Coconut Farming in India: A Profitable Crop For Indian Farmers

Coconut, aka Kalpavriksha (known as the tree of heaven) was originated in Southeastern parts of Asia. It is a large 80-100 feet palm plant with various uses, from food to cosmetics to utility sectors. Therefore, coconut farming is gaining popularity in India.

India is one of the biggest producers of coconut in the world. In addition to this, coconut farming in India accounted for the world’s 34% production during 2021-22. Also, this refreshing fruit contributes Rs. 307,498 to India’s GDP.

This fibre-rich fruit aids 15,000 coir-based industries. And provides food security and a better livelihood to 12 million people in India. 

Coconut cultivation is the next best thing to take part in. So, if you are thinking of pursuing coconut production, let’s help you with:

  • Why is coconut farming important?
  • Easy planting, growing, and harvesting tips for coconut
  • Coconut farming profits – know how much is profit in coconut farming
  • Top 10 leading states for production of coconut during FY 2021-22 
  • Government initiatives for coconut production in India

Coconut Farming – Planting, Growing & Harvesting Tips

For pursuing coconut farming, following are a few coconut cultivation practices that you must follow.

1. Soil Requirements for Coconut Farming

Soil types like alluvial, laterite, red sandy loam, reclaimed, and coastal sandy soil with Ph ranging from 5.2 to 8.0 are ideal for growing coconuts. In addition to this, the soil depth should be 1.2 m deep and have good water retention capacity. And there shouldn’t be any rock or hard substance 2m deep in the soil.

  • In laterite soil, dig a pit of 1.2m*1.2m*1.2m and fill it with cow dung, ash, and loose soil up to 60 cm before planting.
  • In loamy soils, keep pit size as 1m*1m*1m, and topsoil content as 50cm deep.
  • Fill the pit with two layers of coconut husks in an upward direction to retain moisture.
  • After each husk layer, sprinkle BHC 10% DP to prevent termites in the field.

2. Preparation of Land for Coconut Planting

To prepare the land for palm cultivation, factors like —- land topography, soil type, and other environmental factors are important. In addition, the land should be cleaned of weeds and rocks and marking of planting holes. 

  • If the land is sloppy, it’s vital to adopt soil conservation methods.
  • Planting should be done in mounds if the groundwater level is high.
  • In sloppy or uneven terrains, contour terracing or bunding should be practised.
  • In rice fields or low-lying areas, bunds should be created up to a height of 1m above water level.

3. Climatic Conditions for Coconut Plantation

Coconut palms can grow under various climatic conditions. Being a tropical plant, it can grow between 20°N to 20°S. And rainfall of about 2000mm/year evenly distributed throughout the year is suitable for maximum growth and production of nuts.

4. Fertilisers and Manure for Coconut Trees

It is important to start manuring from the beginning, right after coconut trees are planted. Also, it is recommended to apply 20-50 kg of manure per palm/year when the Southwest monsoon is around, as this is when the soil remains moist.

Farmers can apply different types of organic manure such as–

  • Farmyard manure
  • Compost
  • Fish meal
  • Bone meal
  • Blood meal
  • Neem or Groundnut cake

For fertilisers, the following schedule can be followed:

5. Planting Time for Coconuts

The ideal time to plant coconut trees is after the rainy season. Coconut trees become fruit-bearing after 4 years of planting. So, It takes about 15 months for its fruits to ripen. Generally, when the fruit is green, it’s ready to be plucked.

Soil should be stirred and de-weed frequently. For intercropping, clean the interspace for sowing other seasonal or perennial crops. Keep other crops at a distance from coconut crops.

6. Irrigation for Coconuts

The drip irrigation for coconut farming is highly suitable as coconut seedlings are initially sensitive. Moreover, the drip method ensures light moisture to the coconut roots and prevents them from dying.

During the summertime, coconut plants require watering at intervals of three days. Whereas, during winter months, irrigation once a week is enough.

40 litres of water/palm every week can increase the yield of nuts by 50%. Therefore, the drip irrigation method is highly effective in areas where water supply is abundant. 

7. Harvesting of Coconuts

Harvesting of Coconuts

Coconuts can become mature in about 12 months. Moreover, the harvesting time of coconuts can vary according to different areas.  Ripen coconuts are a major source of coconut products. However, eleven-month-old nuts can be used for fibre or harvested to manufacture coir fibre. Almost 2-6 harvesting can be done yearly, resulting in an average of 80-100 nuts per tree annually.

A single coconut plant can sustain for 65 years, but its fruit-bearing capacity becomes slow with age.

8. Marketing and Distribution of Coconut

Farmers can easily distribute coconuts to wholesalers and retailers as coconuts are in high demand. The multipurpose use of coconuts in the Indian context makes them high in demand. In India, coconuts are part of religion, cuisine, handicraft, utensils, and whatnot. 

Given the high consumption of coconuts, the bonus is you won’t have to market it by stating its benefits or use cases. Moreover, the giant nuts in themselves are self-marketable.

Now you know the method of farming coconut trees, let’s identify “Is coconut farming is profitable in India?”.

Also Read :-

What is Contour Farming

Coconut Farming Profits – How Much You Can Earn?

Let’s assume the cost variable for coconut farming to know how much profit you can make in the end.

Coconut planting material cost – Rs. 80

Cost of labour per day – Rs. 300

Seedling quantities/acre 80 (can vary according to space)

Sale Value of coconut – Rs. 25/piece (can vary in states)

Yield of coconut from one palm – 25 nuts after 5 years (average)

Total Production – 25 (single palm tree nuts) * 80 (number of seedlings/acre) = 2,000 nuts/acre (average)

Total revenue from one acre of field – Sale value (Rs. 25) * total production (2000)= Rs. Rs. 50,000

Total profits from coconut production – Total revenue (Rs. 50,000)  – Labour & material costs (Rs. 26,400) = Rs. 23,600 per acre.

Government Support to Coconut Production in India

Under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the Coconut Board of India has initiated various schemes that support the growth, production, and ideal coconut farming techniques. So, here are a few areas the Government of India focuses on:-

  • Production and distribution of quality planting material for coconut trees
  • Expansion of farm area for coconut cultivation
  • Improvement in farming technology
  • Aiding exporters to participate in exporting events
  • Training to exporters on export-specific products
  • Creating opportunities to form a market for coconut globally for better revenue

Kera Suraksha Insurance Scheme and Coconut Palm Insurance Mission schemes are there to help farmers with crop losses due to natural calamities and other reasons. 

Final Thoughts on Coconut Farming

The above coconut farming tips give you a complete idea about how to plant, grow, and harvest better copra-yielding coconuts. From how soil should be to planting space to fertiliser schedule, you have complete coconut farming information. 

Regarding coconut farming profits, the numbers are rising if you give good material, care, and investment to the process. Furthermore, coconut farming has extensive opportunities to meet food security globally, employment opportunities and livelihood in rural areas. 

Hence, investing in the coconut farming business plan requires less capital, giving interesting revenue figures. In addition to this, the top 10 states behind the production of coconut in India are examples that show how growth-driven this farming type could be in its Indian counterparts.

Further information on profitable agricultural practices, stay tuned to Tractor Junction Blogs.

Frequently Asked Questions on Coconut Farming

1. How many coconuts can be grown per tree annually?

Ans. The number can vary depending on the region and the planting conditions. On average, a single tree can grow 70-150 nuts annually.

2. How many types of coconuts are there?

Ans. Coconut cultivars are of two types — Tall variety, which grows up to a height of 50-90 feet and starts bearing fruit within 7-10 years. And another one is the dwarf variety, which grows up to a height of 20-60 feet and starts bearing fruit in 4-5 years.

3. How many inches do coconut trees grow per year?

Ans. A coconut tree grows 12-36 inches when given ideal sun, water, and humidity.

4. How to maintain a coconut tree?

Ans. The coconut tree requires loads of water to thrive. Ensure the soil is well moist and not soggy.

5. What is the shelf life of coconut trees?

Ans. A coconut tree can thrive for a good 60-80 years. However, the tree becomes slower in bearing fruits after 6-10 years. But it is a good investment for Indian farmers and can support the livelihood of their generations.

6. Which coconut is best for farming?

Ans. Hybrid coconut palms are best for farming as they produce maximum copra per nut. Therefore, they are highly selected for commercial farming.

7. Is coconut farming profitable?

Ans. A tall palm tree can lead to 75 fruits per tree, and in one acre, you can sow 70 coconut trees per acre of land, which is quite profitable.

8. What is hybrid coconut farming?

Ans. Hybrid coconut farming is the production of hybrid coconuts from dwarf and tall varieties of coconut. The hybrid coconuts are rich in copra quality and quality. 

9. Which country has the largest coconut production in the world?

Ans. In 2022, China, with 1,425,887,337 tonnes, achieved the largest coconut production in the world.

10. Which states are popular for coconut cultivation in India?

Ans. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka are famous for large-scale coconut production. Furthermore, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Gujarat, Pondicherry, Goa, territories of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadeep are a few popular areas involved in coconut farming in India.

11. What is the best season for planting seedlings for coconut trees farming?

Ans.  The ideal time to plant seedlings for coconut tree cultivation is May when pre-monsoon rain is around the corner.

12. What is organic coconut farming?

Ans. Coconut organic farming involves intercropping under coconut on rotation, recycling of palm residues, optimum water management practices, and use of organic, less harsh fertilisers and compost.

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