India is one of the leading country in coconut with highest production and productivity. Many industries are established in India for the coconut processing and for machine manufacturers for coconut based industry. To know more about the strengths and challenges of the coconut industries during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, and to know strategies for addressing problemss as well as to share ideas and knowledge, Dr. Jelfina C.Alouw, Executive Director, ICC along with Ms. Mridula Kottekate , Assistant Director, Mr. Alit Pirmansah, Market & Statistics Officer and Mr. Klaudio Hosang, Admn and Finance Officer visited some of the machine manufacturing companies and processing industries in Coimbatore, India on 24th and 25th May 2022.
The first company visited was of Essar Engineers, promoted in the year 2001 as a company to manufacture the machineries required for coir pith product manufacturing industries to meet out the international Quality Standards. The promoter K.Rajarathinam is an experienced designer with more than 27 years in the field of machine tool designing and manufacturing equipment for coconut husk, coconut shell and coconut food processing etc. The company installed equipment’s for processing coconut husk, coconut peat, coconut shell, coconut kernel and coconut water, virgin coconut oil, desiccated coconut powder processing machines. They have done around 700 installation in coconut growing countries like India, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Thailand and Vanuatu. Though the company started as manufacturing of machines but later on to coir processing and other products of coconut. He exports the processed coir fibre products in the form of cocopeat to many countries which includes China, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, African and Caribbean Countries. He is a regular participant of ICC ‘s International Cocotech Conference and could establish a wide range relationship between the coconut growing country representatives and able to share his knowledge and experience with other country members. This helped him a lot in expanding his business as well as knowledge in the sector. He has gained a wide knowledge in coconut based products by constantly travelling , presenting papers and installing machines in almost all the coconut growing countries.
Essar Engineering also encouraging precision farming in the name of “Farmagain” which is a smart agriculture using IoT & Artificial Intelligence. In this technology taking care of irrigation, productivity and fertigation.
He mentioned that the major challenges he experienced in this sector is lack of proper research and development. There is a gap between the research done reaching to the actual beneficiaries. Besides short of sufficient fund to take up the research activities. He further added that the policy makers and beaurocrats needs exposure to coconut industry for better understanding of the challenges faced by the famers and the entrepreneurs.
He expressed his future planning of establishing an training institute for the budding engineers and industrialist who can practice and do their initial training on the processing of various coconut products and learn the things before they go for establishing their own processing units.
The second industry visited is of Food Protech, manufacturer of machines for the Desiccated Coconut Powder and Virgin Coconut Oil Processing Solutions. The team met with Mr. Rakesh, the manager of the company. He explained the functioning of the company and informed that they mainly exporting the machines to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Ivory Coast and Brazil.
It was a very thrilling experience for the team to visit one of the biggest coconut oil processing unit Marico under the brand “Parachute”, located in Perundurai, Coimbatore, India established in the year 1990 occupying 63% of the market share in the coconut oil category. One out of 10 coconuts grown in India are used by Marico. More than 1.5 Billion packs sold every year. During the visit ICC team could able to meet a team of management of Marico led by Mr. Arun V. Head-Copra Buying and Mr. P.J.Subin, Buying Manager, who shared the activities and functioning of Marico. The ICC team could see all the processing including quality analysis of copra, crushing, processing and filtering of the coconut oil. The oil is mainly processed by making white copra collected from the farmers. The final product before going to the customers will pass through different quality check so that the customer can have the best quality coconut oil for their daily use.
Marico having products in the category of value added hair oils, skin care and related products. Marico aspires to be a leading emerging market MNC with a leadership position in the categories of leave in hair nourishment, Foods, skin care and male grooming in a few chosen markets in Asia and Africa. The company also exports its products to markets in the India-sub continent such as Nepal, Bhutan & Sri Lanka as well as Indian Diaspora markets across the globe.
To make a positive difference to the coconut farmers, Parachute Kalpavriksha Foundation was launched in September 2, 2017 on World Coconut Day for improving yield, imparting scientific knowledge and implementing precision farming. Under this program learning, enabling, transforming and train the farmers to be self-capacitated in handling their farms. Introduced digital channels to reach farmers and thru kalpavriksha Mobile application so that the farmers can share their problems and discuss various issues related to coconut cultivation, by means of scientific based farm management, market trends, and integration of other stakeholders in value chain.
By doing this Marico directly linked with famers through sustainable development and social upliftment of farming community. This is one of the unique example of linkage between farmers and a private sector company.
The last company visited was of T&I Global Ltd, manufacturing integrated coconut processing solutions. The company supplying machines mainly to the southern part of India. Mr. Karthik J. GM Marketing briefed the activities of the company. The coconut processing machines are also exporting to countries like Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea.
During the visit to all the four units, Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director presented ICC plaque of appreciation and publications.
The visit was quite learning experience for ICC team and was very productive and useful.