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Copra is the dried meat, or kernel, of the coconut. Making copra — removing the shell, breaking up, drying — usually is done where the palms grow. Today, large plantations with integrated operations have appeared, but in former years copra was collected by traders going from island to island and port to port in the Pacific Ocean.
Coconut oil is extracted traditionally by grating or grinding copra, then boiling it in water. It was developed as a commercial product by merchants in the South Seas and South Asia in the 1860s. Nowadays, the process of coconut oil extraction is done by crushing copra to produce coconut oil, and the by-product is known as cake.
Two types of copra namely milling and edible are made in India. Milling copra is used to extract oil while edible grade of copra is consumed as a dry fruit and used for religious purposes. Milling copra is generally manufactured by adopting sun drying and artificial means.
Substantial quantity of milling copra is manufactured using modern hot air driers resulting in the availability of superior quality copra, which is required for the manufacture of best grade coconut oil. A good number of farmers' co-operative societies are also involved in the manufacture and marketing of milling copra.
Milling copra is available in different grades. Edible copra is made in the form of balls and cups. Different grades of edible copra are available in the market according to the size, colour etc.