Coconut production up but farmers struggling to find regular market — CIB

Saturday, December 16, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Coconut Industry Board (CIB) says there has been a substantial increase in the production of coconuts in the island over the past 18 months.

In a statement yesterday, the CIB said whereas it is relieved that its efforts to increase production have borne fruit, several hundred coconut farmers are now struggling to find a regular and consistent market for their coconuts.

Chairman of the CIB, Christopher Gentles, noted that the sector has rebounded from the shortage caused by the record droughts of 2014 and 2015 and is now in a position of strength.

“The weather has been exceptional and several coconut farmers have been experiencing a bumper crop. However, the cooler temperatures have also reduced the demand for jelly coconuts and have negatively impacted the sales of our Coconut Shop,” said Gentles.

General Manager of the CIB, Yvonne Burns, stated that coconut production for 2017 has improved significantly due mainly to improved weather conditions and a distribution of over $10 million worth of fertilisers to coconut farmers over the past 24 months.

She also noted that over the past ten years the CIB has distributed 657,128 coconut seedlings to farmers for the establishment of approximately 7000 acres of coconuts, some of which are now contributing to the current supply.

As a result of this, the CIB said it is planning to increase its capacity to process jelly coconuts and if the plans of its Strategic Business and Capital Expenditure Plan are successfully implemented, it will be investing in a facility to produce virgin coconut oil.

The board added that several coconut farmers are hopeful that the coconut oil processing facility will be established as soon as possible, given the substantial increase in the supply of coconuts.

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