JIS News

Coconut production last year was calculated at 108 million nuts, equivalent to 15,282 metric tons of copra, with a value of $976 million, according to the Coconut Industry Board (CIB) report for 2003.
The report also noted that as at December 31, 2003, approximately 8,000 families were directly involved in growing coconuts in Jamaica, with many more Jamaicans benefiting directly and indirectly from the activity.
Matters relating to the report and other issues will be discussed when the Coconut Growers hold their annual meeting on Saturday, May 8, at Coke Hall, East Parade in Kingston commencing at 10:00 a.m.
Prepared by the CIB, the report informed that at the end of 2003, the total population of coconut trees was calculated as some 3.3 million, with the number of hectares being 13,416, compared with 15,080 hectares at the end of December 2002.
The document noted that domestic consumption of jelly coconuts increased during the year, and that officers of the Bureau of Standards continued their monitoring of coconut bottling plants to ensure that they maintained acceptable levels of hygiene.
However, the report said that a lack of fertilizer, improper agronomic practices, abandonment of some coconut farms and additional deaths of bearing coconut trees from the lethal yellowing disease, which is still the greatest threat to the viability of the industry, affected coconut production.
It noted that work continues with the department of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies and the Centre for International Agronomic Research and Development (CIRAD), in France to counter the disease.
Efforts have also been made to locate and test new sources of resistant varieties with seed coconuts being imported from Africa, Mexico and Brazil, some of which have already been planted and exposed to the disease.
The report said that nurserymen in Florida, United States of America, purchase coconuts annually from the island, in an effort to create a tropical atmosphere to compete with Caribbean tourism.

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