Cocoa output up 46% but meets only a-fourth of the demand

GK Nair | | Updated on: Apr 10, 2018

 

Cocoa imports are on the rise as the country’s production of the bean is only at 25 per cent of the annual requirement.

The demand is growing at 15 per cent every year but there is no corresponding growth in production.

The production is estimated at 20,000 tonnes in 2018-19 from 87,000 hectares, Venkatesh H Hubballi, Director, Directorate of Cashewnut & Cocoa Development ( DCCD ), told BusinessLine .

“Our imports in 2016-17 were at 63,613 tonnes valued at ₹1,542.31 crore,” he said.

In the same period, India shipped out 25,700 tonnes of cocoa and cocoa preparations valued at ₹1,089.99 crore as against 16,679 tonnes worth ₹175.98 crore in 2011-12, he said. From 1997-98 onwards, the non-traditional tracts of Karnataka,Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu started cultivating cocoa.

 

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Hybrid varieties

During the implementation of 11th and 12th Plan programmes, there has been a large scale distribution of hybrids and high yielding varietieswhich has helped in pushing up the acreage and output.

Consequently, the production has risen by 46 per cent to 18,920 tonnes in 2016-17 from 12,954 tonnes in 2009-10.

The area under the crop has expanded by 79 per cent during this period to 82,940 hectares from 46,318 hectares, Venkatesh said.

The world cocoa production forecast for 2017-18, according to the International Cocoa Organisation, is at 46.38 lakh tonnes (lt) as against the revised estimate for 2016-17 of 47.48 lt.

In terms of quality, Ivory Coast is on top followed by Ghana. Hubballi said, according to experts, quality of Indian cocoa beans matches with that of Ghana.

 

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Production push

To reduce import dependence, the DCCD is planning to raise the area under the crop to 1.1 lakh hectares by 2019-20.

During the current fiscal, 15,000 hectares will be covered under cocoa in four southern States. Of this, 10,000 hectares will be brought under the bean in Andhra Pradesh; 2,000 ha in Kerala and 1,500 ha each in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, he said.

Inter-crop potential

“It is a 100 per cent lucrative crop if grown as an inter-crop with coconut, arecanut, oil palm and rubber,” he said. If grown as an inter-crop scientifically on an economy scale the cost of production will be less and the produce will become competitive in the international markets. He said several multi-national companies are showing interest to invest in cocoa in the country.

Price in the domestic market is at ₹170 a kg for dried bean, whereas, in the international market it rules at around ₹140 a kg, he said.

Published on April 10, 2018
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