India is the third largest producer of coconuts in the world. Coconuts play an important role in our national economy; not only are coconuts eaten, parts of the fruit and the tree are also used for fuel and fiber. An estimated 45% of India’s production of coconuts is from Kerala alone.
Now Amrita faculty, Dr. P. Geetha of the Amrita Center for Computational Engineering and Networking and Dr. V. S. Ramachandran of the Amrita Center for Environmental Studies at the Coimbatore campus will help Kerala coconut producers increase their productivity.
Their project titled Improving Coconut Production in Kerala Using Soil Data through Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques was recently funded by the Coconut Development Board, Government of India, Kochi. The project will be ongoing for three years.
“We will identify and map coconut growing areas of Kerala using Remote Sensing and GIS (Geographic Information System) techniques that are designed to capture, store, manipulate, examine, manage and present all kinds of geographical data,” stated Dr. Ramachandran.
“We are planning to create a soil database using GIS for coconut regions that are identified. Based on this soil database, recommendations for production improvement measures can be given,” he added.
As part of the project, it is envisioned that physical, chemical, biological and fertility properties of the soil will be included in the soil database.
“The soil database for coconut growing areas will be helpful in designing management strategies for the control of water, nutrients, pests and diseases,” explained Dr. Geetha.
“A site specific precision technology can be evolved for growth and development of coconut production through this project and this technology can be evaluated for rehabilitation of coconut plantations that have low yields due to soil constraints,” she elaborated.
The duo made a presentation at the meeting of the Project Approval Committee (PAC) on Technology Mission on Coconut (TMOC), which was convened at the Coconut Development Board in Kochi on August 17, 2012. Post the presentation, a revised project proposal was submitted to the Chairman, Coconut Development Board.
Dr. P. Geetha and Dr. V.S. Ramachandran received the grant within the scheme of Demonstration and Adoption of Technologies under TMOC.
Taking into account the recommendations of the PAC, in the first phase, the project will be implemented in five districts of Kerala namely, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakad, Thrissur and Ernakulam. Based on the results, the project will be extended to other regions in the second phase.
Kerala is the largest producer of coconuts in India. The success in deploying these technologies here will surely benefit the rest of the nation also.
November 16, 2012
Center for Environmental Studies, Coimbatore