Coconut products: India

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Coconut oil, virgin

`Virgin coconut oil good for both health & wealth'

Paul Fernandes The Times of India Mar 04 2015 Old Goa

Coconut oil: Health and economic benefits

Coconut oil may have been grandma's remedy for pain, healing wounds, stronger muscles and other ills, but she may have hardly known about benefits of its virgin oil for cholesterol, Alzheimer disease and other ailments. While the whole world is going gaga over the many health benefits of virgin coconut oil (VCO), production expertise and awareness about it has trickled in too slowly into the state, despite its large coconut production, say agriculture scientists.

The pure and colourless liquid, extracted after boiling milk of mature coconuts for a couple of hours, looks like water, but just a spoonful of it daily can keep the doctor away. “VCO is considered the mother of oils and has many health benefits. It is a powerhouse of anti-oxidants and is good for brain degenerative diseases, converts bad cholesterol into good one and builds up immunity comparable with mother's milk,“ Sunetra Talaulikar, subject matter specialist (home science) Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) complex, Old Goa said.

Coconut has been the state's important crop and the kernel and oil extracted from copra a vital food ingredient since times immemorial, but little known VCO may be just what Goans need to pep up their troubled health and employment.

In Kerala, many small scale units and households are tapping the growing market for VCO, considering its potential in healthcare, cosmetics and food industries.

Goa is just beginning to show interest in VCO, even as a few traders buy stocks from Kerala and retail it here.ICAR scientists were pleasantly surprised after many bhatkars (land-owners), coconut farmers and others queued up for a workshop on the subject at Old Goa. Krishi Vigyan Kendr (KVK) of ICAR is trying to popularize the technology among farmers and women to provide them livelihood and empower them. “Extracting VCO is nothing sophisticated and a housewife engaging a labourer can easily earn `1,500 per day with a small investment of just `30,000 for machinery ,“ Talaulikar said.

The equipment comprises three units, a scraper, a screw press for milk extraction and a thick-bottomed vessel for boiling the milk to extract oil.“Bhatkars who have a good supply of coconuts have an advantage, as they will save on purchase of raw material,“ she added. C K Mathew, a Goa Velha-based progressive farmer, said the authorities should promote cheap machinery .“This will help them to tap the market better,“ he said.

Director, ICAR complex (Old Goa), N P Singh said, “VCO has good potential for export as well as domestic market since it has a lot of medicinal properties.“

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