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Thursday, 29 September 2016

A future in coconuts?

Palm trees and coconuts are synonymous with the Caribbean. But despite the world’s familiarity with coconuts being found here, there’s a threat on the horizon to this emblematic plant. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently reported that the Caribbean is running out of them. Across the Caribbean, the total number of coconut plantations has shrunk by about 17 per cent since 1994, according to the FAO. This isn’t great timing at all as demand for this unique fruit, nut and seed has skyrocketed across the globe. There has been an increase in popularity of coconut based drinks, food and beauty products that are continuing to attract an ever growing consumer base. There have been many challenges to the Caribbean’s coconut production. From storms and droughts to the Lethal Yellowing disease spread by insects, entire farms have been wiped out. The search to find coconut varieties that are resistant to this disease and others is still on-going. On top of this, coconut growers have failed to invest in new trees, or fertilizers to improve their yields.

Source: newsday.co.tt