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Activated carbon exports zoom

K.A. Martin

Shipments to touch 40,000 tonnes this fiscal

KOCHI: Exports of activated carbon from coconut shells are likely to zoom to 40,000 tonnes, estimated at Rs.250 crore, during the current financial year, a record that will push the country ahead of its traditional rivals in the field such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Sources in the Coconut Development Board, the designated Export Development Council for coconut and coconut products except those from husk and fibre, say there has been a remarkable increase in the exports over the past three years. Last year, the exports were estimated at more than Rs.200 crore.

Fifteen units in the country are engaged in production of activated carbon from coconut shells. They include three leading producers, who account for a significant export quantity and export realisation. There are three units in Kerala and they account for around 10,000 tonnes of exports a year.

Indonesia exported 25,000 tonnes of activated carbon from coconut shells last year. India exported 30,000 tonnes; the Philippines 20,000 tonnes; Sri Lanka 17,500 tonnes; and Malaysia 30,000 tonnes, figures with the board show. Exports of coconuts and coconut products saw an overall increase of 34 per cent between 2008-09 and 2009-10, the figures say.

Dry coconut exports increased nearly 80 per cent; fresh coconut exports nearly doubled in terms of value; raw coconut shell exports grew more than 10 per cent; and activated carbon exports grew more than 40 per cent.

The total volume of exports was more than one lakh tonnes, estimated at more than Rs.440 crore, during the last financial year. In the previous fiscal, the export volume stood at less than 90,000 tonnes, the estimate being Rs.329 crore.

Copra continued to a major component in Indian exports in the sector, the product accounting for an increase of more than 50 per cent between 2008-09 and 2009-10. During last financial year, copra exports were valued at more than Rs.85 crore from the previous year's level of more than Rs.55 crore.

The board puts total coconut production in the country at 15,729 million nuts for 2008-09, with Kerala leading other States with 5,802 million nuts. Tamil Nadu is a close second with 5,365 million nuts.

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