‘Coconut is PNG’s fourth largest export commodity’


Coconut is PNG’s fourth largest export commodity, according to Kokonas Indastri Koporesen’s (KIK) Stewart Research Station (SRS) in Murnas, Madang.
“The coconut is grown by 90 countries worldwide,” SRS general manager research and development Dr Eremas Tade said.
“It is the ‘tree of life’ as it is not only a cash crop but a food supplement.”
For PNG, coconut has a rich history, and is closely associated with pre-independence development.
Dr Tade said even today coconut (copra) maintains its standing as PNG’s fourth biggest export commodity.
“Around 380 million nuts are consumed annually in PNG,” Dr Tade said.
“From Rai Coast to Bogia and Sumkar, Madang supplies the Highlands region 250,000 coconuts every month.
“At the outset, 2.7 million coconuts find their way into the Highlands from Madang; making coconut a million-kina industry.”
Madang Agriculture division director Godfrey Savi spoke highly of the industry and its prospect to develop the country.
“This nut has been one that contributed to the independence of PNG,” he said while emphasising the need for replanting.
He said the shrinking coconut population in Madang was reflective of the industry nationwide thus prompting the need for proper seedling selection and replanting. “We need to do it right; we need to add value to our coconuts. I’m encouraging you to take a step forward (and replant).”
The SRS recently held a mini exhibition to commemorate World Coconut Day, sanctioned by the United Nations and observed worldwide on Sept 2.