Agriculture and Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said a special programme has been initiated to increase local coconut production to 1,000 million coconuts in the next three years. The Minister said this while participating in a programme to distribute free coconut saplings to a hundred farming families in Suriyawewa Viharagala village. Under the special coconut cultivation programme in the Hambantota district, 50,000 coconut plants have been distributed free.
The annual production of coconuts in the country is 3,600 million nuts, of which 1,800 million nuts are used for annual consumption. There is a need for another 600 million nuts for industries and to cover this gap, the amount of coconuts obtained from one tree should be increased by at least two nuts.
The Minister also mentioned that the amount of coconuts destroyed annually by elephants, rodents and monkeys has exceeded 250 million coconuts.
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