♦ Desiccated Coconut(DC)
♦ Coconut Milk
Organic Coconut from Sri Lanka
Coconut is one of the major plantation crops in Sri Lanka which accounts for approximately 12% of all agricultural produce in Sri Lanka. Total land area under cultivation is 395,000 hectares and about 2,500 million nuts are produced per year.
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genusCocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word. The term is derived from 16th century Portuguese and Spanish cocos, meaning “grinning face”, from the three small holes on the coconut shell that resemble human facial features.
Found throughout the tropic and subtropic area, the coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses of its different parts. Coconuts are part of the daily diet of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of “water” and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. When mature they still contain some water and can be used as seednuts or processed to give oil from the kernel, charcoal from the hard shell and coir from the fibrous husk. The endosperm is initially in its nuclear phase suspended within the coconut water. As development continues, cellular layers of endosperm deposit along the walls of the coconut, becoming the edible coconut “flesh”. When dried, the coconut flesh is called copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is a refreshing drink. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. It also has cultural and religious significance in many societies that use it.
An early mention of the planting of coconuts is found in the Mahavamsa during the reign of Agrabodhi II around 589 AD. Coconuts are common in the Sri Lankan diet and the main source of dietary fat. Sri Lanka is home to the Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka. The agricultural sector of the country produces mainly rice, coconut and grain, largely for domestic consumption and occasionally for export. The tea industry which has existed since 1867 is not usually regarded as part of the agricultural sector, which is mainly focused on export rather than domestic use in the country.
Desiccated Coconut (D/C) processed out of fresh coconuts has long been an export product of importance to Sri Lanka. The manufacture of D/C involves the removal of moisture in the shredded coconut. Once shredded the D/C is graded into “fine”, “medium” or “coarse” and due course used in the manufacture of confectionary and bakery products besides frozen foods. Apart from the above mentioned grading D/C is also divided on the basis of the fat content – low fat (50%) high fat (60%) in a sort of technical analysis D/C has achieved value addition through sweetening or toasting or both in combination. Additionally it is available in flakes, granules, chips or shreds.
Virgin Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is certainly not an unfamiliar name with most of us, but virgin coconut oil might be. Unlike what many of you might assume, it is not simply another name given to the ordinary coconut oil by some company just to increase sales numbers by claiming that it is the purest available form. There is really a substance called virgin coconut oil and, if not entirely, it has some important differences from ordinary coconut oil. These differences mainly lie with the source (more specifically, the physical form of the source), the method of extraction, and its subsequent benefits. Virgin coconut oil is rapidly gaining in popularity throughout the world in comparison to ordinary coconut oil, and it is not without good reason.
Desiccated Coconut is a grated, dried (3% moisture content max.), and unsweetened fresh meat or kernel of a mature fruit of coconut. Dessicated Coconuts are graded by its cutting size, for example, fine grade and medium grade where fine grade is smaller particle size than the medium grade.
One thousand nuts are expected to yield about 130kg of Desiccated Coconut. Production of Desiccated Coconut is a real hard work as the removal of coconut husk, shell and skin are done manually or given the best of current technology are done semi-automatically.
Sri Lanka is very popular in world market for Desiccated Coconut(D/C).
World Demand for D/C
In 2008 the world demand for D/C was 248,000 MT which is a steep rise from the demand in 1990 of 150,960 MT. The European Union and USA are the main markets for D/C followed by Canada, Asia and the Pacific Rim countries such as Australia and New Zealand. The Asian demand comes from countries like Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Singapore. There is also demand for D/C from the Middle East. Especially U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Oman and Jordan. These countries source supplies from Sri Lanka. When you look at the above demand spread that seems to cut across continents and also the growth in demand factor, the future of D/C looks stable. But in 2009 and 2010 there was a drop in export volumes.
Coconut water which (unlike in Sri Lanka) is available in the international market in different forms, is a potential money spinner for Sri Lanka. It is found in markets in different countries in the form of a sports drink, energy drink or purely as a beverage in supermarkets the world over and quite. But sadly in Sri Lanka, coconut water ends up as waste water which apart from being commercially unutilized without leading to a rich source of income also creates environmental hazards.