The Parliament passed The Coconut Development Act, 1979 for the development under the Union of the Coconut Industry. The Act came into force on the 17th of March, 1979 and extends to whole of India. Through this Act, the Union took the Coconut Industry under its control as a matter of public interest. The term ‘Coconut Industry’ does not include Coir Industry or industries from which products and by-products out of coconut-oil are manufactured.
This Act consists of five Chapters and 21 Sections. A Coconut Development Board has been established under this Act on 12th January 1981and comes under the Ministry of Agriculture. It has the features of a corporate body, i.e., perpetual succession and a common seal, with power to acquire hold and dispose of property. It may sue or be sued. The Board has its head-quarters at Kochi in Kerala and regional offices at Bangalore in Karnataka, Chennai in Tamil Nadu and Guwahati in Assam. It has set up six state centers and nine Demonstration cum Seed Production (DSP) Farms. It has also established a Technology Development Center at Aluva.
The Board shall consist of a Chairman, appointed by the Central Government, the Horticulture Commissioner to the Government of India, the Director of Central Plantation Crops Research Institute, and the Chairman of the Coir Board, three members of the Parliament and also members from the different coir and coconut industries from different states, especially, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Board may appoint committees as it deems fit for efficient discharge of its duties. One such committee is the Coconut Producer’s Society. This society strives to bring together many farmers having small or marginal holdings and increase productivity.
The Board also adopts measures for development of the coconut industry so that even small farmers become beneficiaries of the growth in this industry. It strategies methods of improving marketing of coconut and related products. It provides technical advice, financial assistance, and researches different sustainable methods of increasing productivity. It fixes grades, standards and specifications for the coconut. It publishes periodicals, bulletins and books on the research and development of coconut and its by-products and also undertakes other publicity measures. It also sets up regional agencies and other offices for the promotion of this industry. It also maintains a Fund for these purposes, known as the Coconut Development Fund.
This Act was amended once in 1987. As per this amendment, the term ‘Agricultural Commissioner’ in Section 4(4)(b) was substituted with the ‘Horticulture Commissioner’.
Some of the most coconut growing states in India are Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The other coconut growing states are Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh and also the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There are many large planters as well as small and marginal farmers in these states. The Board helps to bring together these farmers and take necessary measures to increase productivity of coconut. Coconut is also one of the most exported commodities of India and it is through the Coconut Development Board that it has gained the required attention.