KOCHI: Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar inaugurated the World Coconut Day celebration, organised by the Coconut Development Board (CDB) in Bangalore the other day. The theme of the event was ‘Neera, the Future of Coconut Sector in India’.
In his inaugural address, the minister expressed willingness to be the ambassador of the coconut farmers in the country. A roundtable meeting of the Union Agriculture Minster and the Union Finance Minister, as well as the Agriculture/Horticulture Ministers of the coconut-growing states will be convened shortly to discuss the action plan for amending the Neera rules and for enabling neera production. The meet will also discuss offering relief package to the coconut farmers affected by natural calamities.
The meeting will also discuss bringing in corporate structure in the coconut sector, with 50 per cent participation by farmers, and 25 per cent each by the State and the Central governments.
The minister further spoke on the prospects of marketing Neera across the country. He congratulated the Kerala Government for amending the Neera rules, and permitting the production of neera. He called upon all the other state governments to emulate this model. He assured that the production and processing of Neera would make India the global leader in coconut processing and export. C P Narayanan, MP and member of the CDB in his special address emphasised on the relevance of ‘Kalpavriksha’ and called upon the farmers to resort to more value-addition for generating better income.
CDB chairman T K Jose in his keynote address urged the farmers to realise the potential of their collective strength, and vowed to pursue the promises of the Union Minister to help the coconut farmers.