The government has started distributing short and high-yielding coconut plants to farmers. The variety produces 200 nuts in a year as compared to the local variety yield of 50-60 nuts.
This high-yielding open pollinated (op) coconut variety was imported from Vietnam and Kerala state of India three years ago.
"The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) has already begun its extension by distributing 4.50 lakh plants mainly in the southern region as the variety has gained huge popularity among the people," said Project Director Dr Md Mehedi Masood.
Local coconut variety takes 8-10 years' time to bear fruit, but the short and high-yielding Vietnamese variety will give fruit within three years, he said.
The height of the coconut tree is maximum one foot when it comes to production.
"We have a plan to make huge mother tree stock of the variety in the country including the coastal belt by importing around 10 lakh plants," said an official of the agriculture ministry.
Then the plants would be extended across the country through the project. The horticulture centers across the country are distributing the variety at a subsidized rate of Taka 500 per piece of plant variety.
The southern region alone has a scope to cultivate 40 crore plants of the variety, said officials close to the project.
In 2015, a team of the agriculture ministry was the first to bring 24 plants of the dwarf coconut variety from Vietnam.
Officials said the coconut plants will also to be planted in the Kaptai Lake area.
Mainly Siam Blue and Siam Green varieties have been planted in the southern region, said Deputy Director (DD) of Barisal district horticulture centre Swapan Kumar Halder.
"We are introducing Vietnam variety like Siam Blue and Siam Green because they bear fruits within a short time. Farmers will be more benefited farming this variety, and production will rise three times in this region," he said.
Swapan said the soil here is suitable for coconut farming as it grows fast in saline water. Vietnam variety has been cultivated on over 1,000 acres of land, he added.
The agriculture ministry has earmarked Taka 10 crore to introduce the improved coconut variety under a five-year project titled 'Year Round Fruit Production for Nutrition Improvement Project' that started last year.
Bangladesh annually imports 20,000 tonnes of copra, dried kernel of the coconut, from which coconut oil is extracted, for manufacturing different branded coconut oil as local production is only 500 tonnes.
Bangladesh imports coconut copra from Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, India, Philippines, Indonesia and Fiji.