12/12/05 PANAJI, Dec 12 (Asia Pulse)) - India's coconut oil was facing a stiff competition against palm oil being imported from countries like Indonesia and Malaysia at a cheaper rate, according to the Coconut Development Board.
"Of the total 46,70,093 metric tonnes of vegetable oil imported, 34,72,000 metric tonne comprises palm oil," said Minnie Mathew, Chairman, Coconut Development Board.
Briefing reporters on the eve of two-day International seminar on "Global Coconut Industry --the future outlook", scheduled to be held in Goa from Saturday, she said only 400,000 metric tonnes of coconut oil is produced in the country and there are no imports in this sector. Only 30 per cent of the total coconut production is used for extracting oil.
"In the edible sector, palm oil is replacing coconut oil as it is cheaper. While palm oil is priced at Rs 40 (US86 cents) to Rs 45, coconut oil costs Rs 60," stated Thomas Mathew, Chief Coconut Development Officer.
"The households from lower middle strata of economic hierarchy are increasingly showing this shift from coconut oil to palm oil," he said.
The Coconut Development Board officials are optimstic about the increase in the coconut production in the country.
"The area and production of coconut in the country has reached a level of 1.91 million trees per hectare and 12 billion nuts as against the figures in 1981, which were 1.06 million trees per hectare and 5545 nuts,'' Minnie Mathew said.