Desiccated Coconut is a dried white, shredded particular manufactured from the peeled kernel of the seasoned coconut. It is used in the bakery and confectionery industry for ﬁllings for nut bars, cookies, biscuits, sanding of cakes, pies and other baked goods. Nearly 8000 nuts are required to produce 1 ton of desiccated coconut (DC).
Sri Lanka is the birthplace of the DC industry, the ﬁrst factory was established over a century ago in 1880 in Colombo, and continues to be one of the country’s leading food-processing industries. There are around 66 DC manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka which are mostly located in the coconut triangle. The processing capacity of an average factory varies from 30,000 – 40,000 nuts per day with an industry output of around 60,000 tons per annum.
Desiccated coconut from Sri Lanka is celebrated for their fine texture, flavour and lightest colour and is considered the best DC in the global market.
At present, Sri Lanka serves only 8% of the demand for desiccated coconut in the EU while the country serves 5% of the overall global demand for fresh and dried coconuts in the world. Despite the growing demand for coconut-based edible products around the world and Sri Lanka’s reputation as the best producer of desiccated coconut in the world, the country’s overall edible coconut export value has reduced from USD 75.3 Million in 2008 to USD 68.3 Million in 2018.
The average annual coconut crop production in Sri Lanka is around 3000 million nuts, of which around 65%is directly used for domestic consumption and the remaining is absorbed by two industries, 18% by the desiccated coconut industry and the rest by the coconut oil industry. While the former is export-oriented, and the latter caters mainly to the domestic market.
The country has been facing a long term shortage of coconut yield, mainly due to loss of cultivation land and reducing yield in the existing coconut estates. The gradual reduction of Sri Lanka’s coconut yield has negatively affected the growth potential of the country’s export-oriented coconut industry and only an immediate intervention from the public and private stakeholders of the industry.