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Replant Coconut Trees, Pacific Countries urged

Replant Coconut Trees, Pacific Countries urged
Samoa Ambassdor to EU Fatumanava Luteru, EU Pacific promgramme manager Marta Brignone, Asia and Pacific Coconut Community exectuive director Uron Salum, Fiji Agro Marketing Manager technical services Mere Salusalu and SPC Resources Division Director Jan Helsen at the Pacific Coconut Sector Value Chain workshop at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA
July 12
15:42 2017


The boom in the use of coconut products worldwide is something Pacific island countries can capitalise on. While the coconut industry here is small, it is nonetheless growing.

A look at the Fiji Bureau of Statistics figures on the 2016 Principal Domestic Export Commodities, there was a significant increase in the export of coconut oil.

When compared to the previous year (2015), there was an increase of 65.1 per cent.

But coconut industry experts working in the region say that if replanting does not take place immediately, a decline is imminent.

Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) Executive Director Uron Salum told participants at the Pacific Coconut Sector Value Chain Workshop in Nadi that the declining production of coconuts is a serious issue.

A Pacific Country Reports received by the Community (APCC) indicate very little or no replanting at all.

“Thailand and Malaysia are now out of coconuts. 0ver 95 per cent of coconuts processed are purchased from Indonesia.

“If we have not replanted coconuts over the last 30-40 years then, a serious situation is pending on the coconut timeline.

“For that same period sometime soon there is potential for a slump in supply of coconuts, just when we needed coconuts for all the capacity of downstream processing facilities the stakeholders would have built up by then.”

The Asian and Pacific Coconut Community  has urged that every Pacific island, including Fiji, as a matter of urgency and utmost importance in the coconut sector, to immediately commence large-scale replanting.

Mr Salum suggested that farmers can under plant with existing coconut trees in between rows.


Campaign against Coconut oil

On the other end of the spectrum, the campaign against the use of coconut oil has increased.

A stakeholder meeting in the Philippines last week heard about the rise in the negative campaign against coconut oil by American Heart Association (AHA) with their latest release of a Presidential Advisory on Saturated Fats and Cardiovascular Disease.

They claim that saturated fat raises incidence of heart disease, with particular reference to coconut oil.

“For many who are fully aware, this is the same old story from 30 -40 years ago that has been found, many times over, to be false and misleading as it is based on bad science involving experiments found to be full of errors and omission thus discrediting largely its results that for some reason is still being referred to by this campaign against coconut oil,” Mr Salum said.

To counter this attack, the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community Scientific Advisory Committee on Health has taken a professional and science-based position with relevant responses directed in writing to both the World Health Organisation and Food and Agriculture Organisation.



Mr Salum said market intelligence by some of the largest coconut products manufacturers such as Franklin Baker & Co in the Philippines were recording exponential growth in values and volumes of exports of coconut products.

This includes projections over the next few years. “And, this is only happening in the last 5 years,” he said.

Asian and Pacific Coconut Community  statistics indicate the Pacific countries with an aggregate total of 600,000 hectares planted with an estimated 1.3 billion coconut trees can produce an estimated 2.5 billion coconuts each year.

However, a very low productivity rate of 4,000 nuts per hectare each year is the average reported for Pacific countries.

The two day event is organised by the Coconut Industry Development for the Pacific (CIDP), a joint initiative of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union.


About Asian and Pacific Coconut Community:

It was established in 1969 by a United Nation Article under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific with membership of 9         Pacific countries and 6 Asian with Jamaica and Kenya as associate members.

Asian and Pacific Coconut Community is charged with working together with respective governments in looking after the socio-economic welfare of coconut farmers.



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