5 December, 2020

Blog

Where Have All The Coconuts Gone? Surely, Not Out Of The Country?

By W A Wijewardena –

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

Making coconuts disappear from retail outlets

Fresh coconuts have disappeared from most of the retail outlets in the country by last week. In some places, they are available but sold through the backdoor as if the traders are dealing in contraband. Worse, they are sold at prices ranging from Rs. 100 to 120 per nut. That is close to double the price set by the Government for average sized coconuts.

But the customers are treated to a double jeopardy here. Apart from the high prices, they get partly mature coconuts plucked before they reach full maturity. Hence, they do not get value for money because the cream content in those coconuts is much less.

Since almost all the coconuts have been harvested before the due time, there won’t be coconuts to be harvested at least for another three months. Hence, the short supply will continue, to the dismay of housewives who use coconut cream abundantly in local curries.

Overreaction to price increases

What has happened to the coconut market in the country? This is another outcome of wrong policymaking by the country’s political authorities. When coconut prices started going up due to the short supply, the Government overreacted by imposing a set of controlled prices on coconuts based on their sizes. According to some Government authorities who made the announcement, the objective was to protect the consumers who were going to be exploited by the opportunistic middlemen in the market.

In the first few weeks, fresh coconuts were available at the controlled prices at Government-run retail shops like the Lak Sathosa and major supermarkets. When the supply dried out soon, coconuts in those places too disappeared. At that stage, the consumers were served only by small grocery shops but at prices above the controlled price.

When the authorities started threatening to sue them, coconuts on the front side of the shops quickly disappeared. Now they are sold in most places through the backdoor only to known customers. Even then, after treating them to a barrage of excuses that they too get them from the distributors at the same prices.

Cultivating coconuts without going for scientific methods

For centuries, coconut had been a tree of multiple use or in Sinhala, Kapruka, in Sri Lanka. Its main product, fresh coconuts, provided the cream for curries without which the local cuisine was tasteless. The edible oil it produced too was used as the base for many indigenous medicines. Yet, coconut was grown only in home-gardens without much care or tending.

When Dutch Governor Van de Graaf tried to persuade the local inhabitants to use scientific farming to improve the yields of both paddy and coconuts, he was not received very kindly by them. This changed to some extent in the British period when Sri Lanka’s newly-rich locals chose to invest their surplus earnings in commercial coconut plantations in Gampaha, Puttalam and Kurunegala Districts. However, they were absentee landlords who visited the coconut plantations very infrequently. Hence, unlike tea or rubber, coconut industry did not receive the due attention from its owners.

Coconut, the political weapon

Coconut was such an essential ingredient in local cuisine that its price increases caused much anger among housewives. Then, this was used as a political weapon by Opposition parties to attack the Government in power. Thus, to arouse the wrath of voters against the Government, politicians of all hues used to bring ‘half a coconut’ to political rallies and tell the people that that is what their Government has delivered to them. As a result, those in Government get nervous when coconut prices start rising in the market mainly due to short supplies.

In the past, consumers were appeased by importing coconuts from abroad. But partly due to disruption to international trade emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic and partly due to lack of foreign exchange to import coconuts, in the present price hike, the Government decided to impose price controls rather than importing coconuts from abroad.

But this should not have happened since the Coconut Research Institute or CRI had given advance warning at the beginning of the year that coconut output was to fall drastically in 2020. In fact, CRI’s prognostication had been fairly accurate since, in the first eight months of 2020, coconut output has declined by about 12%. Hence, had the Government listened to CRI at the beginning of the year, it would have averted the present fiasco in the coconut market.

Coconut is the main calorie source

As mentioned earlier, rice and curry are Sri Lanka’s staple diet and curries are cooked with an exuberant use of coconut cream extracted from scraped fresh coconuts.

Accordingly, about 65 to 70% of the country’s coconut production is used for household consumption. With this high consumption, the per head consumption of coconuts in fresh nut form has been very high at about 90 to 110 nuts per annum throughout the post-independence period. This has remained at this high level, despite the adverse publicity given to coconut fats since 1970s as a potential cause for heart diseases on account of the high saturated fat content in coconut oil.

Even today, about 12% of the daily calorie requirement of a typical Sri Lankan is obtained through the consumption of coconut fats, much higher than the calories obtained by consuming fish, meat and milk amounting only to a very small share of 5%.

A coconut index might show a marginal decline in people’s prosperity since independence

Hence, with increase in population, the demand for fresh coconuts for household consumption too has increased, while the production had remained almost static around 2,800 million nuts in recent periods. The result was the gradual increase in the price of coconut in the market offering a powerful political weapon for all opposition parties to attack the governments in power.

In 1948, the price of a coconut was just a little lower than 10 cents. In 2020, it has gone up to Rs. 120, recording a staggering increase of some 120,000% in coconut prices in the post-independence period. It is pertinent to note that with the per capita income in 1950, a Sri Lankan could have bought 5,350 coconuts. At current coconut prices, with the expected contraction in per capita income in 2020, he could buy only 5,200 coconuts. Thus, in terms of coconut index, the prosperity of Sri Lankans has marginally declined.

Global change in coconut consumption

During the last 70-year period, there has been a tremendous change in the global coconut industry but not in Sri Lanka.

Malaysia, which was a major coconut producer in the 1950s, made a strategic change in its policy in 1970s when it foresaw an imminent change in the global consumption pattern in edible plant fats.

This occurred when the US farmers switched to edible oil plant cultivation like soy beans, sun flowers, corns and peanuts after their cotton farms were hit by the polyester revolution of 1970s. Almost simultaneously with this development, the world became more conscious of ‘healthy hearts’ and it was claimed that coconuts contained a high quantity of saturated fats that contributed to elevate blood cholesterol levels raising the risk of heart disease. As a result, consumer preferences began to shift, logically or illogically, from coconut to what was perceived as heart-friendly plant fats.

Sri Lanka has killed the palm oil industry

When this development was taking place in the major coconut consuming countries, Malaysia decided to convert its old coconut plantations to palm oil plantations. It was driven by the fact that palm oil had an inflexible demand because it was not only an edible oil, but also an industrial oil. Today, Malaysia is the largest supplier of palm oil to the world market, sending its palm oil in tankers like the crude oil tankers, while coconut oil exporters are still using barrels to export their product.

Sri Lanka too started producing palm oil in a small way in early 1990s. The industry began to grow with new investments in palm oil plantations and associated factories to extract oil. However, due to the objections made by some groups against palm oil plantations, the present Government has decided to kill the palm oil industry altogether. With that short-sighted strategy, Sri Lanka has lost another chance to diversify its agriculture on modern lines.

New research to improve yields of coconut

A second development was the research done in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand to raise the yield of their coconut plantations so that the higher productivity would lower the average costs enabling the coconut sector to survive in a fiercely competitive market.

Sri Lanka just managed to raise its yield level from 4,000 nuts per hectare in the 1950s to 7,000 nuts per hectare in the early 2000s. But today, it has declined to 6,000 nuts per hectare. With proper and regular manuring and irrigation, supported by improved plant materials, a coconut tree today can produce a little more than 100 nuts a year.

In Sri Lanka, fertiliser application has been the lowest priority of coconut cultivators. Since it takes about three years for manuring to produce good results, fertiliser applied today will bring in a better output only after three years. As such, Sri Lanka produces about 40 nuts per tree. But its competitors have moved in the opposite direction. They have increased their yields manifold in the last few decades.

For instance, the Philippines had been producing about 11,000 nuts per hectare; recently it unveiled a new coconut variety that could produce 15,000 nuts per hectare. Even India, which ventured into coconut cultivation recently, has maintained a yield level, on average, of 8200 nuts per hectare with Tamil Nadu state reaching a record level of 13,000 nuts and Andhra Pradesh 14,000 nuts per hectare. Thailand has upgraded itself to producing 11,000 nuts per hectare, while Indonesia has reached a level of 15,000 nuts per hectare.

The Latin American countries have been the real winners in this race. From a very low yield level five decades ago, they have surpassed even the Andhra Pradesh State in India. Given this situation, Sri Lanka appears to be fighting a losing war with respect to yield improvement in coconut industry.

Dwarf coconuts to maximise yield and address labour issues

The third development is the breeding of the dwarf coconut tree to address the issue of labour shortage and late flowering of trees. The plucking of coconuts from dwarf trees is easier than plucking from traditional tall trees, the variety which Sri Lanka has grown. Also, the traditional tall trees take about five years for flowering, but the dwarf trees take only three-and-a-half years.

These changes made in the cultivation practices and policies by other coconut producing countries have enabled them to compete effectively with rival edible oils that had captured the global edible oil markets.

Sri Lanka has been a laggard in this area.

Sri Lanka’s past interventions in the coconut industry

To the credit of Sri Lanka, the country has in fact spent a vast amount of resources for the development of the coconut sector since independence. These measures include the establishment of the Coconut Research Institute or CRI as early as 1951, introduction of fertiliser subsidy schemes, free distribution of newly developed planting material, introduction of coconut to new regions of the country and the establishment of the Coconut Development Authority in 1971 for the promotion and regulation of the coconut sector. The most recent intervention by the Government in the coconut sector has been the new loan scheme, titled Kapruka Ayojana Scheme, to help coconut growers to replant their coconut gardens or small estates.

There is a basic shortcoming in all these measures. They are all activities carried out in isolation without considering the developments taking place in other coconut producing countries or the global market for edible oils.

In the current context, development initiatives undertaken by governments are targeted to attain a single objective: management of governmental activities for attaining development results or MfDR that strives to create the intended impact in the economy or the sector. Government initiatives are praised not based on the activities they have completed but based on the impact they have created.

Sri Lanka’s authorities should, therefore, move from the current activity-based intervention to impact creating intervention.

Climate change and its impact on coconut industry

An important factor which the coconut sector should take into account is the impact of climate changes on the sector’s long-term development.

Two researchers attached to the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka, namely, Nishadi Eriyagama and Vladimir Smakhtin, in a paper presented to the National Conference on Water, Food Security and Climate Change in Sri Lanka in 2009, have reviewed the available evidence on the subject and concluded that “the science community in Sri Lanka has come up with ample evidence that country’s climate has already changed”. According to the evidence quoted, during 1961-90, Sri Lanka’s mean air temperature has increased by 0.016 ºC per year and the mean annual rainfall has decreased by 144 mm (or 7%) compared to the period 1931-60.

The two researchers have projected that by 2100, the country’s mean temperature will rise between 2.5 ºC and 2.9 ºC over the mean temperature in the baseline period 1961-90 and there will be changes in the quantity and spatial distribution of rainfall as well. Quoting a study done by T.S.G Peiris and others in 2004, the two researchers have suggested that these climate changes would reduce coconut yields significantly making Sri Lanka’s coconut production by 2040 insufficient to meet the country’s domestic demand. The study by Peiris and others has also suggested that the increased temperature will increase the incidence of pest and other diseases requiring growers to spend more money to control such epidemics.

This is bad news for Sri Lanka’s coconut industry which at present depends wholly on rain-fed cultivation practices.

Better to be ready to avert calamities in the coconut sector

These projections are long-term projections and, therefore, subject to many counter developments that would produce results completely different from what the scientists under reference have come up with. Hence, the much-feared warming of the air temperature or the reduction of the rainfall may not even take place.

Yet, it is advisable for Sri Lanka to be ready for this eventual calamity by diverting its research potential for the development of crop varieties that has a better chance of survival in increased temperatures and reduced rainfall conditions. It is reported that India has already moved into research in this area, not necessarily to be better prepared for increased temperature, but in a bid to introduce coconut cultivation to relatively arid areas of the country.

Sri Lanka stands to gain if it teams up with agronomists and scientists in the rest of the world in this enterprise.

*The writer, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at waw1949@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 2
    2

    Dr WAW

    Thank you for the subject matter.

    Surly not gone out of the Country??? Without knowing our controls/who is deceiving whom I make the following comments with the understanding we have very many countries who produce coconut in great scale such as Thailand/India..Caribbean etc.

    I share with you now Coconut water/milk powder/cream/even the fresh kernels/chocolates/biscuits/baked items covered in dissicated coconut, hundreds of brands of various bottled and canned cooking sauces and health shop products are all available in the Western countries. This now forms huge market/business connections between multi nationals etc.

    The same with the seasami and moong dal too.

    Other than the local farming methods/land use/diseases wherever these items are produced they all sold as organic or non organic forms wherever I shop too.

    • 1
      1

      If we continue to feed the world with something as a life style item/variety then one has to pay the price

      (1) shortage of such a fundamental items in developing poor countries
      (2) affordability and availability will become an issue is the case as you mentioned
      (3) they are replaced with artificially produced items/non healthy items such as various imported cooking oils/processed and packaged as suppose to something we took it for granted when we grew up as children??
      (4) Local industry that should be further developing these items for local consumption first as many healthy products the opportunity is lost/small industry and employment opportunity also lost.
      (5) There are people doing some processing before export too but this is not a way to realise the best value for the product either if this does not fulfil local needs first.

      • 1
        1

        This is one of the reasons we need a strong GOSL who can lay foundation to many issues that requires tackling….and the estate owners I hope still are locals and patriotic, also hope small farmers of the moong dal and sesame oil need to be given a helping hand to produce more of this heathy nutritional diet and maybe we should apply more science and technology and research and development skills to bring these items more presentable to younger generations too specially at the schooling age.

        More than anything we need a system of controls where we can monitor all that happened in our landmass away from all kind devious locals and international money spinners just about spinning all they can..squnderals got to go.

        I also noted now the diaspora are all well connected with various businesses wherever they live and they may not aware of the impact of their actions on the local market…..we can always blame the GOSL.

        • 1
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          The worst part is it is used as cosmetic component in foreign lands a staple food someone can not even afford where it was grown??

          No UN questioned this but interesting enough someone trying to question the monkeys welfare as some of the cocunuts are harvested by the enslaved monkeys. Such is the hypocrisy…..we SL’s live around the world and watch this just as we did with our unfortunate children fight our battles when we were breeding overseas….now I am enlisting only foreign Tamil children for the next round specially from India/Singapore/Malaysia/West.

    • 2
      0

      Now they got all what they asked for.
      :
      I dont mind even they are pathological liars and twisted the POLBURUWAS mindset for their power gains, – now it is time GOTABAYA to deliver…. to the very same manner Duterte in Philiphines did his job, for example committing master murders, if found with drugs – the very same should be the case for the srilankens, ….. if they elected, mlechcha leaders, they deserve tob e killed by them.
      :
      Not only POL, but also rice prices went up, and there had been a scarcity of LOCAL rice sorts in local markets. Those that have been hiding local products should be treated with the shoot, to the manner Duterte did it with drug traffickers. This way only, Gotabaya would be able to succeed his mission, if he really want to. I dont have the least sympathy with srialnkans.
      They are mleechcha so as their leaders. If so called leaders would turn out to be amok runner, even better. This nation should finally learn lessions.
      Then only they would see it back and learn to respect real good leaders…
      I would say GOOD RIDDNACE!

  • 2
    1

    The late M.S.Fernando one of my favourite baila singers knowing the value of the humble simple coconut composed and sang a song which he aptly called it as pol-pol-pol.
    During the 1960’s he was able to ascertain the value of the simple nut but sadly too the Yakko politician goons, as usual, have got their privates entangled and have conveniently foolishly lost the value of the product to the Lankan housewife.
    b.
    True the humble coconut has its negativity health-wise but to the simple daily wage earner, a meal without it is a no-no of a no-go.
    c.
    The present rulers are a bunch of boru hour criminal losers who are not interested in bringing relief to the suffering masses but are only keen on filling their amude’s with ill-gotten cash and wealth.
    d.
    They have begun the process of doing away with the well-recognised world-renowned Palm oil for reasons best known to them.
    e.
    At the rate that this was now sleepy about to die a natural demise the country if it does not pull its amudes up will be historical once was and will occupy a pride position in the colony of the beggars.
    f.
    The baila hit pol-pol-pol should be given a new lease of life and the mighty COCONUT, the poorest of the poor’s darling should be given a fresh rejuvenation of life.

    • 1
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      Dear RJ 1952

      – Coconut “does not” have any negative health issue
      -Palm oil is a Malaysian & Indonesian productive do not need that in our small land scape to grow nor to import….locally produced coconut and seasamee oils are and should remain as our Nations everything that we need to do with oil related cooking and ladies cosmetic and hair use and many other products too??

      all other comments are cool.

  • 1
    1

    In SL, coconuts are drowning in bureaucracy. The Coconut Research Institute isn’t conducting any meaningful research, and there is also the Coconut Cultivation Board. There might be more entities, such as nurseries, but there is little cooperation between these bodies. My first hand experience as an owner of a small coconut plantation in the NWP.

  • 3
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    The coconuts have been exported, just ask Maggie Akka. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E0_xqy2RMw

  • 1
    0

    Where Have All The Coconuts Gone? Surely, Not Out Of The Country??
    ==============================
    if you are referring to the diaspora they are mainly in the UK. USA and Canada and may be some in other European I don’t think the diaspora in other countries are referred to as coconuts,.

    • 1
      0

      But as Bounty chocolates…..dark on the outside and white inside:)

  • 2
    3

    It is not surprise the price hikes when controls are made by government. There is an international market for coconut products after health benefits were identified by research. In Sri Lanka, not only coconut industry but also other traditional export industries are suffered a lot and the quality of products deteriorated the country lost comparative advantage in competition. The 30 year war had a significant factor in the industry. You don’t need strong family military dictatorship to run this country to arrest your political enemies and release murders from jail. We need a knowledgeable desciplined honest personailty to run this country, not a president who change the constitution to bring his brother to ministry who do not want to give up his american citizenship for his country.

    • 1
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      Ajith
      It is not as simple.
      With turmeric, the government said it will promote local cultivation and banned imports, and we had a severe shortage and an absurd rise in price with the stuff hardly accessible.
      With coconut, there was shortage and a hike in price. Price control led to hoarding for a while. Now nuts are there but at 80/= per nut against 40 to 50/= earlier.
      *
      Our tea and rubber are in private hands and the government cannot even dictate a fair wage to plantation workers against the wishes of the estate owners, backed by the Chamber of Commerce.
      I wonder what export commodity of any significance is state controlled.
      *
      Dole owns a fair size of banana plantations and produce rather mediocre Cavendish bananas at much higher prices than some of the best local banana.
      There is room for better organizing of production, packaging and delivery, most of it private now.
      *
      Paddy cultivators and consumers benefitted in the 1970s when the Paddy Marketing Board managed paddy purchase and even much of the milling and distribution.
      Privatization is not always a good answer.
      Our co-operative movement of early last century was a great boon to the consumer. State take-over did harm. Yet bodies like the CWE ensured goods at fair price.
      *
      Let us not confuse good management with private ownership.

  • 5
    0

    May I add that land put to coconut cultivation has shrunk to some extent owing to pressure for land to build. For example, much of the property development in Kurunagala is on former coconut land.
    *
    There are periods of pest attack (mostly weevils) that cause crop failure locally. But this is reasonably well controlled since 1970-71, after the Cumingi did extensive damage. Subsequently there has been no prolonged shortage of nuts.
    The Cumingi itself had reportedly entered the island in 1970 because a politician had brought in some orchid plants without following due quarantine procedure, it was efficiently eliminated by biological methods.
    *
    Coconuts pose some health issues, but there are also benefits.
    It is true that the shortage of nuts is owing to the surge in coconut products ranging from c’nut milk powder, c’nut powder, dehydrated scraped c’nut (not desiccated c’nut), virgin c’nut oil etc.; but not entirely, as some of these products are substitutes for fresh nuts.
    *
    What we forget is the huge consumption of king coconut water in the city. King coconuts are grown at the expense of the normal varieties for cooling. They have doubtful health benefit (at least as value for money) and are a drain on the wallet.

    • 2
      0

      Sorry.
      King coconuts are grown at the expense of the normal varieties for cooking.

      • 0
        0

        Dear SJ

        The next question should we even be producing tea and the land should be given back to Sinhala people to do other things?

        • 0
          0

          I grew the King Coconut from scartch in Malaysia..5 plants. on the 6/7 th year about 5-7 ft and started to fruit…..on the 15th year they were all 30++ feet and each fruiting in 100’s..an amazing harvest of palm leaves and fruits non stope..attracted so many bats/squirrels/birds/tree rats and bees too.

          I only watered them for the first year as Malaysia get lots of monsoon rain and the soil was very fertile too. All the organic waste was let to rot around the tree just as we do back home.

  • 1
    0

    President Gotabhaya is well aware that it is the de-regulation from government interference in the lives of small and medium size businesses that helped to spur growth in USA. Sri Lanka needs a dose of deregulation to unleash the potential of the agricultural sector.
    Yahapalanays government stifled the agricultural sector by banning glyphosate. This government followed suit by banning the growing of the Palm Oil seedlings already imported. Coconuts disappeared from the shelves with unrealistic price controls and amidst the curfews, the consumers have to get out to buy a coconut from any outlet that dares to sell one at above controlled prices. The shortage is compounded by the increased production of coconut oil at the expense of fresh coconuts. No incentives have been given to use drip irrigation to increase the yield or remove the restrictions that prevent people from growing coconut trees on small plots of fallow lands classified as paddy lands in urban areas.

    We need to provide cultivators the freedom to grow what they know will give them the best return without allowing bureaucrats to rule their lives.

    • 2
      0

      LdeM
      “No incentives have been given to use drip irrigation to increase the yield or remove the restrictions that prevent people from growing coconut trees on small plots of fallow lands classified as paddy lands in urban areas.”
      Drip irrigation for coconut trees? Wonder how!
      *
      It is very rarely that coconut suffers from drought, especially in the wet zone. Even in the East I have not come across drought hit coconut plantations.

  • 4
    0

    I know where “POL” has gone. All the “POL-BOORUWAS” are in the Parliament. The maintenance cost of this category of “POL” has sent the “Cost of Living” spiraling high and unbearable, including the price of “POL”. Dr. Wijewardene has given emphasis to this fact, in saying “wrong policy making by the political authority”.

    • 0
      0

      My DEAR SIMON,
      .
      Not only those in Parliamaent, but also their voters should also be POL BURUWAS. Dont you think so ? They elected pol buruwas and now anticipate them to a good job. Is that ever be possible. Pigs might fly.
      This nation would never see it right. All is not becoming clear that srilanka s future will be darker than we ever guessed at. They cut their neck by their own by electing bitch s sons as their leaders. How dare so called leaders to fall on to the levels of all lower…. being surrendered to Muslim MPs in succeeding the 20A. Pathological liars proved that they are just champions EXCLUSIVELY at fishing on muddy waters. It is pitty knowing that average joes would never grasph it but to drag their votes (universal franchise) meeting with their power greedy tactics. Nothing is achieved within that the year, even if ballige puthas promised sky and earth to the very same stupid people. Good riddance to bad rubbish. !!!

  • 2
    0

    coconut water is big business in the west …people are going crazy !
    is Sri Lanka missing out again.

  • 1
    2

    The juicy, creamy, rasaya racial political resources are trying. So the divisive Lankawe politics is traveling through Halal Food, Maxi Pad & now climbing on the coconut tree. The coconut is not the only shortage now. It is neither a recent shortage. It was a joke written in CT about two years ago which said the rice and pol Sambol eating people claimed they were eating imported food. This type of shortages is the symbol of half-baked communism. Supply was artificially killed by governments for importing commission, but unlike tea, not the suppliers closed their companies and took the Coconuts to Britain, when Siri Ma O nasalized industries. In an open market, all food shortages get adjusted with substitutes. Low wages and insufficient profits open up the path for new innovations. Food products’ demands are, these days not absolutely inelastic. Diaspora world don’t consume too much of coconut. South Indian Sambar doesn’t use coconut. The NGOs & food manufacturers have to put one man shows in markets & Super Markets to teach people how to switch over to substitutes without any satisfaction loss. That is short term solution in a supply market which takes 5-10 to response to demand. In long term, people have to be taught how to live without opening their mouth for political Biriyani, in political rallies.

  • 1
    0

    The grower was dis-induced from growing coconut. for the following reasons.

    1. Theft by drug addicts and all types of petty crooks. Not only acreages but the home gardens were robbed. I planted a few trees in my garden, took the trouble to apply fertilizer at the right time. When the trees started bearing in our absense due to being abroad not a single nut was left on the tress all robbed brazenly by the local addicts in broad day light.
    2. No pluckers. The proud Arya Sinhalese do not want to work in this type of job. In fact the friend of mine who does have an acreage complained that he cannot find anyone to work for Rs 30,000 a month with food! But they can send their women abroad in servitude for just Rs 35,000 a month while the men sit at home and get drink everyday if not indulge in worse drugs.
    3. The high yield Dwarf tree project begun in Wanathawilluwa ended up being a total scam. Poor unsuspecting victims from abroad lovingly parted with their life savings for a small house and a two acre plot of coconut only to find out that the same block had been sold to multiple buyers by the scheming scoundrels who ran the project.

  • 1
    0

    The coconut tree has many uses that can make the invester a thumping big profit. Cold pressed coconut oil is a highly priced and popular health aid in all western countries. Activated carbon in another comodity used in filtration systems and is derived from burning coconut shells. Coconut water is another sought after drink considered healthy. But the grower is unsupported. The local politician looks upon the owner of an acreage with envy and jealousy. All the local Arya Sinhalese youth with not a penny to scratch their back sides with would rather look for an opportunity to rob something from the land owner rather than doing an honest days work. The only hard working work force to be relied upon are the estate Tamils. Deeply resented by the so called Arya Sinhalese morons. I for one have long since given up on investing anything back into Sir Lanka for these reasons.

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