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Monday, January 5, 2015


Before palm oil, coconut oil rules the day. Coconut estates were established especially along the west coast areas from Pontian in the south  through Klang to Bagan Datoh (Perak) in the north where the land is flat, low lying and water-logged. 

The Department of Agriculture made concerted efforts to introduce selected seedlings for planting. Exotic materials were introduced one of which was coconut from the San Blas Island, Panama.

Coconuts on San Blas Island.

Philippines is the largest producer of coconuts. For one thing, the palm is hardy and can withstand strong winds of the typhoons which occur frequently.

Coconut trunks and leaves can sway with the winds unlike rubber trees or oil palms.

For the Pacific islanders, coconut is indeed the tree of life providing source of income, food, energy, shelter, culture effects.

Malays of the Cocos-Keeling islands splitting coconuts. The kernels are dried in the sun to make copra for export and the oil obtained when pressed.

Sun drying of copra.

Coconut shells can be used directly as fuel or turned into charcoal or active carbon.

The inflorescence stalk can be tapped to collect the exudate which is sweet and aromatic to drink fresh. When boiled to get rid off the water, the exudate solidified and used as sugar (gula Melaka). Young fruits provide a health drink.

There is shortage of coconuts in Malaysia, we have to import from Indonesia. Most of the existing trees are getting too tall to harvest the nuts.

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