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Coconut: “The Tree of Life”. Mai Kao Yang. History (in theory). Theory 80 million years ago Southern Hemisphere, Gondwana. History. 4 th -century B.C ., Sanskrit’s writing 1 st –century to 4 th century A.D, Tamil literature India

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history in theory
History (in theory)
  • Theory
    • 80 million years ago
    • Southern Hemisphere, Gondwana
  • 4th-century B.C., Sanskrit’s writing
  • 1st–century to 4th century A.D, Tamil literature
      • India
        • 2-3 thousands years ago, making it the oldest traditional crop grown
      • Marco Polo
      • Expedition to India, recognize it as the “Pharaoh's nut”

Global Economy

  • 1996
    • Indonesia~ 3,745 hectares 6. Malaysia~ 208
    • Philippines~ 3,093 7. Papua New Guinea~ 260
    • India~ 1, 796
    • Sri Lanka~ 419
    • Thailand~ 377

Kerala state is the lead of production in India

Located at the south tip, bordering water and closest to equator

coconut management
Coconut Management
  • Highly sensitive to soil moisture
    • Rainfall total of 1800 mm evenly throughout the year
    • As little as 1000 mm will prove to be optimum
    • Takes up to a year for coconuts to mature
      • Bloom up to thirteen times a year
      • Continuous harvest year-round
      • Average harvest of 60 coconuts/ tree
      • Some trees yielding at three times that amount
  • A number of devices have been developed to assist in the
  • processes of harvesting and dehusk coconut operation
  • Devices are electrical and/or solar generated

Modern Method

Traditional Method

Oil Milling

  • Coconut crab aka robber crab
    • Type of hermit crab
    • 1 meter in length
    • 3 kilogram in weight
    • Can actually drown
  • Cattle
    • By-product (oil cake) of coconut after extraction for oil fuel

Most well- known

      • Coconut oil
  • Recently start appearing and
  • is on high demand
    • Nata-de-coco; meat of mature coconut
    • Desiccated coconut; dried and
    • shredded coconut flakes
    • Spray dried coconut cream powder
    • Skim milk
health concern
Health Concern?!?!
  • 1930, misconception that coconut and coconut oil are health hazard
    • Thought to cause heart disease
    • Is pretty “fatty”, little over 50% of coconut contain medium chain fatty acid, Lauric acid
    • Once in the human body it changes to monlaurins , which is found in mother’s breast milk
  • Coconut is the next best option to breast milk
Addition Health Benefits

Powerful against - Antibacterial - Antiviral - Antifungal agents - HIV are sensitive to coconut oil•Excellent moisturizer for dry skin•Coconut oil is absorbed quickly and give energy like carbohydrate

  • Epic, classic Hindu stories: Ramayana
  • Coconut hold a high place in the Indian culture, no ritual or ceremony is performed without it
      • Used in both social and religious ceremonies: worshipping, marriages, festivals, decorations, etc.
  • Small farmers are the backbone to the coconut culture
    • Coconut provide sole income but, the price of coconut is determined by coconut oil which is influence by supplies and demand
case study coir women workers
Case Study~ Coir Women Workers


Home-based cottage industry

50% are without electricity

Majority of the women in the village work in the factory

Work every day, except Sunday,

Shift from 8 to 5:30 p.m.

Work outside in all types of weather

Interact with the middleman


  • Small village factory
  • 13% are without electricity
  • Employ regular 8-10 women each day
  • Normal shift: 8 to 6 p.m.
  • High demand: two shift period
    • 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    • 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Lunch hours 1.5 hours
  • Don’t interact with the middleman
  • Doesn’t matter if working in a small village factory or a home-based
  • cottage industry
    • Both wages and conditions remains the same for women coir workers
  • in Kerala
  • Stakeholder: lack of technology is hurting, however, the women fear
  • that with it, they will be put out of work
  • Mix-cropping system
    • Australia: coconut, cocoa, coffee along with cattle grazing
    • Ceylon/ Sri Lanka: coconut, tea, and rubber
  • Coir products: husk from the coconut are bio-degradability
  • India
    • Biomass fuel supply average size family, 30-40 palm tree
  • Coconut oil fuel
    • By- products: “oil cake” is fed to cattle

“The day of coconut as mainly or solely a monoculture appears to be almost over.”