A rare type of tall coconut variety with immense historical, religious and commercial importance known locally as Eathamozhy or Eathamozhi tall coconut thrives in Kanyakumari district. The unique morphological traits found in this variety are of a superior genetic constitution and it is unsurprising that there is great demand for the seedlings of Eathamozhy tall coconut across India and Asia. However, this variety exhibits its full genetic potential only in this geographical location and this is greatly attributed to the traditional knowledge of the farmers.
The Eathamozhy tall coconut comes under the West Coast Tall variety of coconut and grows well in the saline red soil found in Thengapattinam, Colachel, Rajakkamangalam, Alathankarai, Eathamozhi and Puthalam in Kanyakumari district.
Eathamozhy tall coconut is known for its strong hardy stem, large crown with 30 – 36 leaves, good size fruits with generous amount of fibre in the thick shell, kernel and high percentage of copra and oil. The tree can reach a height of about 30 metres and can live for about 80 – 100 years. These trees are visually pleasing with large green leaves and green or light green oblong-shaped nuts. This is a rainfed crop and the agro-climatic conditions results in high yield and excellent nut quality. This indigenous variety shows remarkable resistance to diseases and pests.
The dehusked coconut known as Kottar coconut fetches a premium price in markets across Tamil Nadu. A brown fibre is prepared from this nut by retting the husk in the backwaters and used to make special ropes that form a part of the cottage and small-scale industries. This rope is known for its strength and fetches a high price.
The nuts of this variety are supplied to desiccated coconut manufacturers, copra makers and industrial product manufacturers across Tamil Nadu. Coconut oil, desiccated coconut, coconut cream, coconut water from tender and mature nuts, coconut neera, coconut mats, coconut ropes and others are some of the main products of this variety that have considerable domestic demand and export potential. The coconut oil made from this variety contains lauric acid and fatty acids and is used in cooking, to manufacture soaps, cosmetics, hair oils, creams and tonics.
As Eathamozhy tall coconut has a very percentage of copra and natural oils, Government authorities are working simultaneously with the farmers to increase production and quality of the produce through organic farming methods and new technology to increase the income of the farmers through direct supply and value-added products.
This native tall coconut received the Geographical Indication Tag (GI) in 2008.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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