Coconut, a large 80-100 feet palm plant, has various uses, from food to cosmetics to even utility. During 2021-22, India accounted for the world’s 34% coconut production. Coconut production in India restores 12 million people’s livelihood and food security.
Besides food, cosmetics & utility, coconuts have massive demand in medicines, building materials, religious and other coir-based industries.
If you are interested in pursuing this farming in India with the mini tractors and Mahindra cultivator of choice.
Coconut Farming – Growing & Harvesting Tips
Coconut farming favours Indian climatic, soil, and allied farming conditions. Let’s review what factors you need to look into.
Laterite, alluvial, red sandy loam, and coastal reclaimed sandy soil are ideal for coconut farming. However, the ph should be between 5.2 to 8.0. Additionally, the soil depth to consider is 1.2 m deep with water-retaining capacity. Moreover, within 2m deep, there shouldn’t be any gravel, rocks or hard calcium deposits.
Tropical fruits, coconuts, or palms are suited for any climatic conditions. The palms can quickly grow in temperature between 20 N to 20 S. Moreover, the cultivable land must receive rainfall of about 2000mm/year and be evenly distributed. Farmers around the world also use sophisticated equipment such as agriculture weather stations and other similar tools to regulate and simulate to an extent the best possible conditions for coconut trees to grow.
Fertilizers for Cultivation
Right from the planting stage, it is necessary to start manuring. Expert farmers and agriculturists recommend applying 20-50 kg of manure per palm/per year-especially when the Southwest monsoon is around and the soil is moist.
Farmers can also incorporate a range of organic manures such as:
- Fish meal
- Bone, blood meal
- Farmyard manure
- Neem or groundnut cake
Ideal Time for Planting Coconut
Coconut trees can become fruit-bearing after four years of planting. Generally, after 15 months, the fruit becomes ripened. The ideal time to grow coconut is when the monsoon prevails. It is essential to de-weed and stirs the soil continuously.
And farmers opting for intercropping must clean the interspace and use it for other perennial or seasonal crops. It is important to put other produce at a distance from coconut crops.
Since coconut seedlings are sensitive, the drip irrigation method is highly preferable. The drip method provides light moisture to seedlings and ensures they don’t die.
During summer seasons, coconut plants require water after every three days of intervals. And during winter months, watering once a week would be enough.
Do you know watering 40 litres of water/palm every week can increase nuts productivity by 50%? However, the drip irrigation method is best suited in areas where water supply is sufficiently available.
The harvesting time of coconuts varies from region to region. As each region’s soil and climatic conditions differ, harvesting time can vary. But generally, coconuts can become ready to harvest in about 12 months.
Harvesting of coconuts can be done 2-6 times per year, leading to 80-100 nuts per tree annually. On average, a single coconut tree can survive for 65 years. However, the fruit-bearing capacity of such trees becomes less with time.
Frequently Asked Questions on Coconut Farming
What’s the best way to maintain coconut trees?
Ans. Coconut trees require loads of water to grow & harvest. It is essential to ensure that the soil is moist and well-drained.
What is coconut trees’ shelf life?
Ans. Coconut trees are called generation trees because they can survive for 60-80 years. However, their fruit-bearing capacity becomes slow in 6-10 years. But investing in coconut farming is ideal as it can support generations of farmers.
Which is the best coconut cultivar?
Ans. Hybrid coconut palms are the best cultivar as they can produce maximum copra in a single nut. This type is highly traded commercially.
Can you make a profit from coconut farming?
Ans. A single tree can produce 75 fruits. And in one acre of land, you can sow 70 coconut trees.
Which is the best season for planting coconut seedlings?
Ans. The best season to plant coconut is around May when pre-monsoon is around.
How many coconuts can be grown/tree in a year?
Ans. A single tree can grow 70-150 nuts annually. However, this varies according to region, their particular factors like soil, water, climatic conditions, etc.
What is organic coconut farming?
Ans. Organic coconut farming is a practice where certain resource-efficient practices are involved like:
- Recycling of palm residues
- Use of organic fertilizers & compost
- Optimum water management practices
How many inches can coconut trees grow?
Ans. Under ideal sunlight, water, and humidity, coconut trees can grow up to 12-36 inches.
How many types of coconut cultivars are there?
Ans. Coconut cultivars are of two types – Dwarf and Tall. Tall coconut varieties can grow up to a height of 50-90 feet and become fruit-bearing within 7-10 years. However, dwarf variety can grow up to 20-60 feet and becomes fruit-bearing within 4-5 years.