Monday, February 25, 2008

[PBN] Coconut assistance for Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka gets $22mn UNDP grant to develop coconut industry

Feb 21, 2008 (LBO) – The United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) is to
grant Sri Lanka 22 million dollars to develop the coconut industry,
officials from the ministry of coconut development said.

The funds will be used to improve small and medium coconut businesses,
especially small holder cultivators, said Newton Peiris, advisor at the
ministry of coconut development.

They will also be used to start small business enterprises and self
employment schemes.

Sri Lanka has been struggling with a shortage of nuts, the price of
which has soared in recent months.

The island will produce only 2,776 million nuts in 2008, 404 million
nuts short of the annual requirement.

Bad weather and loss of coconut estates for housing and industrial use
has affected the crop.

Sri Lanka produced 2,900 million nuts last year, part of which was used
to extract coconut oil while the rest was sold for consumption in local
markets by industries and domestic users.

Sri Lanka produces 70,000 metric tonnes of coconut oil at present but
the requirement per year is over 160,000 metric tonnes.

Talks with UNDP officials for the grant will take place next month,
Peiris said.

Schemes to obtain material for small scale exporters will also be
developed with the grants, under the coconut community concept, Peiris
told reporters on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka's membership of the Asia and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC)
was what qualified the island for the grant, Peiris said.

Sri Lanka's representative coconut development minister Salinda
Dissanayake has been elected the president of the APCC.

APCC is an intergovernmental organization of fifteen member countries
and according to its statistics around 29.1 million acres were used for
coconut cultivation in 2006.

The world produces 10.66 million metric tonnes of copra, which is the
dried meat, or kernel of the coconut, of which 8.96 million metric
tonnes or 84.05 percent is from APCC members. Copra is used to extract
coconut oil.

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