IntroductionOriginThe word coconut or the fruit of the coconut palm which is

IntroductionOriginThe word coconut or the fruit of the coconut palm which is an agricultural crop occupies a unique place in economic botany and is referred to as Cocos nuficera L. which is a monotypic genus of Arecaceas or the palm family that has countless value as a versatile plant to humanity (SENASICA, 2016). This crop is widely spread across different tropical and subtropical regions in the continents of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South America. Its wide distribution is attributed to the dry and light nature of the nuts that floats on water and are thrust to and fro by marine currents across the ocean and by man across border as a source of food product and drink for traders and in bartering for goods and services.Coconut CultivationThroughout many centuries, the coconut fruit has built a reputation for being an environmentally friendly palm with multipurpose uses as a crop that provides significant economic benefits to many economies of the world. It is estimated that over 12.28 million hectares are under coconut cultivation in approximately 90 countries worldwide with total world production of 54 billion nuts annually (Jegede, 2019). Coconut appears to be a poor man crop with approximately, 98% of the coconuts cultivated by over 80 million poor small farmers and their share cropper families occupying less than 4 ha and depends on the crop directly for their economic and social sustenance (CKC, 2018). For the year 2018, coconut production was estimated at 61 million tonnes. The global coconut leaders are Indonesia, the Philippines and India which produced 73% of the world coconuts production for 2018. The highest production of coconuts was produced in Indonesia accounting for 19 million tonnes, trailed second by the Philippines production of 14 million tonnes and thirdly by India production of 12 million tonnes in 2018. Other countries such as Sri Lanka, Brazil, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Mexico also play a significant role with a combined contribution of 15% to the International market in 2018 (ResearchAndMarkets.com, 2019).Globally, coconuts can be viewed as a food security crops with an estimated 70% of total coconut production being used for domestic consumption. For the year 2018, its coconut value added market was estimated to be US$30.38 billion and is projected to grow by 5% for the next 5 years. The high demand is attributed to the global consumer behaviours and trends towards alternative healthy natural food products that are derived from plant based crops. This type of behavior is being supported by the World Health Organization that called on countries to implement stringent tax measures on sugary food and beverages in order to lessen consumption and avoid lower obesity rates and incidence of diabetes among its population and place more emphasis on natural healthy sugar found in fruits and vegetables. Coconut cultivationCoconut is an economic crop to the Guyana’s economy and ranked third in line with rice and sugar. It is grown widely on the coastal plain stretching from the Corentyne Coast, West Coast Berbice, East Coast Demerara, the Essequibo Coast and the Pomeroon river. According to Dr. Homenauth (2018), Guyana has an estimated 24,000 hectares of coconuts under cultivation with an estimated yearly production of 92 million nuts. With an anticipating renewed interest locally and globally for the crop the Government of Guyana has invested heavily in the sector to increase current and future production with the establishment of coconut nurseries, distribution of planting materials and the containment of the various types of coconut diseases. Most coconut farmers are subsistence farmers that grow coconut on marginal soils and heavy clay soils in some areas that are prone to high tides, swamps, embankments to protect major crops. The most common coconut varieties grown are the 5 year nuts and the 3 years nuts and the 18 months coconuts. There is also the creole nuts which also comes from the cross pollination between the different varieties. These varieties of the coconut gene pool have been in recycle for more than half a century with no newer varieties or breed on the market to improve their crop type. This gap requires government to implement new approaches to make newer breeds and genetic material available so that farmers can diversify their gene pool. This crop is also susceptible to many diseases and pests and need effective control measure to combat the red palm mite, root wilt disease and leaf eating caterpillar which are prevalent in Region #2 & #3.The value addition to the coconut palms is much more than in the form of fresh nuts and dry nuts but also in the form of desiccated coconuts and copra. Therefore, farmers are more interested in improved productivity of coconuts in the production of more water with the right taste and colour, and the oil content of the dry nut seed that are being processed for copra and other byproducts. The information gap exists in this area and policy makers need to incorporate more studies in these areas to study the value of this crop from the farmers’ perspective and how farmers view them from a marketing standpoint.Coconuts Uses:The consumption pattern for coconuts in Guyana is primarily for matured nuts (dry nuts) for culinary art and making coconut oils and tender coconut water using as a health beverage. These marketable products are in the form of coconut water, coconut milk, copra, desiccated coconuts and coconut oil. A small portion of the coconut production is directed to the domestic market in the form of fresh and unprocessed nut and to the agroprocessing factories for water bottling and valued added products in the Pomeroon. The high cost of processing of the coconuts into value added has been very high, thereby seeing a decline in coconut processing in some regions and the closing down of some factories such as the Maharaj Oil Mill and Sococo on the East Coast of Demerara and coupled with the low demand and revenue return for the processed product locally. The remaining portions of the coconuts in its raw form are exported to regional market to fulfill factories and manufacturing demand within the region. The demand and supply of the raw material locally and regionally determined the raw material or feedstock material price of the crop through the supply chain. Marketing SystemsThe marketing systems for coconuts are one where coconut producers have a preference for traders to purchase their products directly from the farm. This practice has led to the proliferation of traders from the immediate district operating as middlemen between the agroprocessors, exporters and the farmers, thereby reducing the farmers’ transportation and delivery time in getting its produces to seller. This type of practices have encouraged farmers and middlemen to trade, since traders are providing advance loan payment to producers on the condition that the sold their produce directly to them. The traders will then collect the produce, aggregate the produce from the producer and then transfer them to the wholesalers who then sell in the marketing place. In the case of the middlemen, agents and exporters they have more warehousing capacity than the producers and the district traders and they purchase directly from the producers and the district traders. This gives them the position to take advantage of glut in different seasons and the demand of the product from food processing manufacturers and exporters given the demand and supply in the world market and the better pricing offered for its commodity.

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