Coconut written off as a dying commodity for almost half a century is staging a strong comeback as an economically viable item in the marketplace for different household and industrial applications.
This dramatic comeback can be attributed to the several initiatives undertaken by industry participants, particularly in the global processing arena, by pumping in funds heavily into the areas of upgrading, improving and enhancing the capacity of the current set-up for increased throughput. For instance, the number of coconut-based products alone has increased from 30 to 120 in the last one and a half-decade, as per a report submitted by the Kerala Government. And that’s good news from an industry growth perspective!
Coconut and coconut-based product export value is now nearly $10 billion, out of which the exports of kernels for commercial use is $5.6 billion, shell at $0.87, water at $2.7 billion and husk tagged at $0.24 billion. Virgin coconut oil, coconut sugar, and coconut water are the emerging products in this space. Cocopeat too is showing a lot of promise as an alternative growing medium to soil and in places where there is water scarcity.
India and Indonesia are the top consumers with up to 80 percent of the products whilst the export was found to be as little as 20 percent. However, the Philippines is an exception to this case where it has seen increased growth in global export volume, with the addition of higher-and newer-value products every year on the global marketplace, both inedible as well as non-edible product categories. All said and done, reports indicate that coconut is not a big-time player in the vegetable oil market segment with only 1 percent, last on the list along with olive oil.