Call made to replant coconut trees to ensure high productivity
March 23, 2019 12:19 pm
Agriculture Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy says there’s an immediate need to address shortfalls that exist within the coconut industry.
He highlighted this while officiating at the Coconut Day Celebrations in Taveuni yesterday.
The Minister says the trees around us are tall but are also widely unproductive and there’s a need to replant to ensure the future generation can enjoy these fruits.
This low production has been attributed but is not exclusive to existing senile plantations where 40% of trees are senile and unproductive.
It also include fluctuation in copra prices, high production costs, shortage of copra cutters, lack of interest amongst the younger generation, frequent cyclones and other catastrophic weather events, and competition from other lucrative cash crops such as dalo and yaqona.
Dr Reddy adds, the production of Virgin coconut oil is rapidly gaining popularity amongst the rural and maritime communities.
He says Copra remains the most traded coconut commodity in the country as Fiji has around 10 million coconut trees scattered around an area of approximately 65,000ha of land; with the majority, 70% of which, are in the Northern Division.
The Minister says this is the silver lining but still requires immediate addressing if efforts are to succeed.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture was allocated a budget of $750,000 for the Coconut Development Program during this financial year.