Agri Business

FY19 coconut product exports set to cross ₹2,000 cr

V.Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on May 27, 2019

India’s coconut product exports are set to cross the ₹2,000-crore mark in FY2019, thanks to higher prices for activated carbon in the overseas market.

The country exported 80,467 tonnes of activated carbon, valued at ₹1,123.64 crore, till January and the total exports of overall products stood at ₹1,812.55 crore. The final figures have not been compiled, but the value is set to touch ₹2,100 crore by March.

Activated carbon fetched a price of ₹140/kg in FY2019 vis-a-vis ₹100/kg in FY2018.

The low price of coconut shell and higher price realisation of activated carbon has made the industry more attractive.

Activated carbon is much in demand in the US, the UK, Germany, Japan and Korea, where it is mainly used for the purification of gold, water and air, sources in the sector told BusinessLine.

While the charcoal is made by burning coconut shells, the activated carbon is produced through a steam activation process through which the surface area of charcoal is enhanced manifold, increasing adsorption capacity. Around 30 companies in India produce activated carbon.

In FY18, exports of coconut products other than coir and coir products were to the tune of ₹1,800 crore. According to officials, high prices for raw coconuts put a pause on product exports, especially kernel products such as desiccated coconut powder, coconut oil and virgin coconut oil.

Coconut product exports two years ago stood at ₹2,300 crore. If prices of raw nuts were lower, the export figure could have crossed the ₹2,500-crore mark by now, the officials said.

Shift in prices

In 2017-18 and 2018-19, domestic prices of raw nuts were three times higher compared to prices in other major coconut-growing countries. This has affected price competitiveness of India's coconut product exports. Now, prices have started moving southwards, reaching ₹25-₹27/kg.

Ganesh Kamath, Partner, Vittal Agro Industries in Kanhangad, pointed out that it was activated carbon alone that was benefiting in the product exports basket, while shipments of other products are declining.

He has also raised concerns over widespread import of desiccated coconut powder through wrong declarations in import bills as animal feed as well as low-fat DC powder after extracting milk and oil.

“We have requested the Commerce Minister to look into such wrong declarations, as these products are widely mixing up with local brands, hampering the quality of DC powder available in the market,” he said. Such unregulated imports are also affecting raw nut prices in the domestic market, which are now hovering at ₹25/kg from ₹40/kg, he added.

According to officials, the higher price of raw nuts is remunerative for farmers and the Coconut Development Board’s focus is to get the maximum price for the farming community. Higher prices in the last two years have enabled farmers to get good returns.



Published on May 27, 2019

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