Agri Business

Centre imposes curbs on import of desiccated coconut powder

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on February 10, 2020

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On the lines of import restrictions on pepper, the Centre has come to the aid of the coconut industry by placing restrictions on the import of desiccated coconut powder.

According to a notification issued by the Commerce Ministry, desiccated coconut powder imports with CIF value of ₹150 and above per kg is free, while shipments priced less are prohibited with effect from January 1.

The government decision comes on a request made by the Coconut Development Board to protect the domestic industry, which has been on the verge of closure because of large-scale imports of desiccated coconut powder.

Official sources told BusinessLine that the government had sought the views of the Board in the wake of unbridled imports, especially from Sri Lanka, at very low rates on account of high domestic prices of raw coconuts.


Nil import duty

Desiccated coconut powder shipments in bulk quantities have been coming under SAFTA with nil import duty. The Sri Lankan powder in the domestic market is pegged at around ₹100 per kg, while the domestic price is hovering in the range of ₹120-130 per kg. There was a time when India exported more than 5,000 tonnes and the trend has now reversed.

There were also reports that desiccated coconut is being imported, disguised as animal feed, coconut oil cake and copra oil cake. It is used in sweets, biscuits, confectionery, and curry etc.

India is a major producer of coconut globally and desiccated coconut has evolved as a major value-added product, giving employment to more than 1 lakh people. There are about 150 units in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Desiccated coconut is the biggest industry after coconut oil and it was in growth trajectory till recently following the upgradation of the processing capabilities of factories.

However, uncontrolled imports have put the domestic sector in dire straits.

There are also reports that imported products are being mixed with local brands, which hurts the local manufacturers and their products. The imports have also led to decline in domestic prices of raw coconut.

Published on February 10, 2020

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