Coconut palms per acre increased to 64

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Measures have been introduced to increase the number of coconut palms per acre to 64, while at the same time increasing the productivity of the land by cultivating additional crops, Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Minister Jagath Pushpakumara said.

"There are around one million acres of cultivable coconut land in the country, but only 40 trees are cultivated per acre at present, plans are now afoot to cultivate four million trees by the end of this year," he said.

The Ministry had also introduced a new coconut variety ‘Kola Kundira’ to the Southern Province recently. The Coconut Development Authority has already taken steps to plant 30,000 ‘Kola Kundira’ plants, the Minister said.

"The Ministry plans to breed a new insect to counter the ‘Mita Blite’, which is affecting the coconut industry. It has already established a breeding centre and plans to set up 20 more centers within this year," he said.

He also said that the ministry plans to establish Coco Clinics country wide, to provide information on protection from diseases, insects, weeds and animal pests.

The Ministry will encourage coconut related manufacturers and suppliers to increase the quality of their products, to uplift their living standards and also plans to produce more job opportunities and enhance the income for Samurdhi beneficiary families by Rs 5,000.

A large number of people in Sri Lanka, especially those living in coastal areas, depend on coconut related products, Pushpakumara said.

In addition to that, he said, it is necessary to manufacture high quality coconut products to get a good price and meet demand abroad.

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