THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Industries Development Corporation (KSIDC), the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) and the state planning board will jointly organize a national ‘coconut challenge‘ as part of the conference and exposition on on September 6 and 7.

The event will be held at a resort in Kozhikode. The challenge seeks to foster ideas and innovations in the coconut sector, including coconut farming, marketing and process improvement, among other things. It will provide an opportunity for innovators, startups, individuals and students to showcase their ideas or prototypes in the conference. It will also enable them to get mentoring and funding support from various government agencies.

The main objective of the programme is to rejuvenate the coconut sector in the state by linking entrepreneurs, innovators and farmers. Ideas and will be invited to resolve industry-level problems in different farm-level operations such as harvesting, procurement, processing, value addition, supply chain management and marketing. “The idea is to harness young brains to find solutions to various problems faced by the coconut farming sector,” CEO of the Kerala Startup Mission Saji Gopinath said.

Students, entrepreneurs or startups in the country can apply for the ‘challenge‘. Some of the problems statements include ideas to detect and control pests, disease and nutrient deficiencies of coconut trees, procurement and marketing models of coconut and coconut-based products, ideas for effective utilization of neglected coconut palms and ideas for simplification of the task of coconut farmers in the field. The last date for submission of entries is August 19. Entries can be uploaded at https://startupmission.kerala.gov.in/programs/ncc/.

The best startups will get Rs 25 lakh in total seed support from the KSIDC. Top three will be given an opportunity to present their ideas at the international coconut conference and expo.

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