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Coconuts

Overview

Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) is a monocotyledonous plant of the family Arecaceae and the monospecific genus Cocos. Recent theory indicates that it originated in Polynesia. This palm can be found growing over most of the islands and coasts of the subtropics and tropics under varying climatic and soil conditions. However, the soil conditions for better growth and performance of the palm are proper drainage and good water-holding capacity. While it grows well on fertile free-draining soils, it also does well on sandy, saline soils and prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall.

Coconut is a major source of income for rural families in many tropical countries and almost every part of the coconut tree can be used in either making commercial products or meeting the food requirements.

In the Caribbean region, the coconut palm serves a multi-functional role. At the small scale farming level, coconut is an important contributor to food security. At the industrial level, value-added products of coconut are important sources of employment and income in rural communities. The coconut produces a variety of products which are consumed regionally and internationally. These include fresh green nuts for water and dry nuts for copra, oil, milk, cream, etc. Coconut oil is consumed as food while a significant amount goes into the oleo-chemical industry for the manufacture of cosmetics, detergents, soap and other products. Additionally, the shell and husk are used for the production of fibres, charcoal and various derivatives.


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