What A Lovely Bunch! Jamaica Counts On Upping Coconut Production.

Photo: Pixabay. Jamaica is planning to increase coconut production by use of scientific techniques.
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The Jamaican Coconut Industry Board (CIB) is looking to expand the export of coconuts and coconut products by at least 5%.

This is among operational plans contained in the Jamaica Public Bodies Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the Year ending March 2025.

Coconut milk is becoming increasingly popular in the United States as an alternative to dairy milk, and the coffee chain store Starbucks sells large amounts of coconut based drinks. But before exporting them,  Jamaica needs to grow the coconuts.

To achieve the target, the CIB will be pursuing several strategies this year to encourage efficient production and adoption of new tech and provide ongoing research and support to growers,  while creating marketing opportunities for all the various products that can be derived from coconut.

In addition, two training programmes for farmers will be held with a focus on seed nut selection, which are expected to increase germination and production rates by 15 per cent, and the CIB also plans to set 55,000 seed nuts and distribute 19,625 seedlings to registered farmers.

Other initiatives by the CIB include the development of coconut varieties that meet market demand.

The research arm will explore the use of molecular technologies for crop improvement and development of resilient, robust coconut hybrids, and a tissue culture project will also commence in collaboration with the Scientific Research Council (SRC).

The CIB also plans to actively pursue business partnerships with industry and other investors, and will conduct 15 climate smart training/workshops, research the use of smart water in the Jamaican coconut sector, as well as investigate and demonstrate (test) the application of drone technology in combatting praedial larceny.

The entity will further seek to expand the network for coconut products through renovation of the coconut shop and purchase 230,000 jelly coconuts.

Work will also continue to eliminate or reduce pests that affect the crop and to attract new farmers to the industry.

The CIB is projecting an operating deficit of $341.32 million for this year, down from $386.68 million in 2023, with a staff complement of 51, an increase from 44 in the previous year.

The CIB was established under the Coconut Industry Control Act (1945) to promote interest in the local industry and encourage the efficient production of coconuts through the distribution of seedlings to registered farmers, provision of ongoing research support and the development of marketing opportunities locally and globally.

The responsibility of the CIB includes advising growers on agricultural challenges, offering technical support, and overseeing the administration of the Coconut Replanting Fund.

Additionally, the CIB develops coconut varieties and hybrid that are resistant to disease and possess commercial characteristics.

 Source: Jamaica Government News Service.
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