Farmers must look beyond coconut water

SALALAH, Oct 17 – The potential of coconut farming in Salalah has not been fully tapped and the business that Salalah is generating out of coconut farming is just minimal. Salalah can generate more money from coconuts, if tapped properly and the farming is done on commercial scale. Historically, the Dhofar palms were the main source of wood for the people to build boats and other basic materials to do commercial activities.
Oommen John, a resident of the Indian state of Kerala who manages a coconut grove, appreciated the quality of coconut in Salalah and termed some varieties better than his home state. “The demand for tender coconut water is really very high during the Khareef when many tourists from the GCC countries come here. But the business should not be limited only to this,” he said.
John revealed that he makes good money out of coconut farming as he has diversified the business and gets many products from coconuts. “Like there is tender coconut water, neera, coconut flower syrup, coconut palm jaggery, palm sugar, copra, oil, raw kernel, coconut cake, shell based products, coconut wood based products, coconut leaves, and coir pith.” Commenting on demand for coconut products, John said, “There is huge demand for such products, particularly in GCC countries where coconut farming is not much and limited only to Salalah.” He cited the example of tender coconut water and coconut milk, which can be sold fresh as well as in packed bottles or containers with minimal processing. It is a natural source of electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, complex carbohydrates, amino acids and other nutrients.
Equally good is neera, which is good for digestion and facilitates clear urination and prevents jaundice. Coconut flower syrup, according to him, “is a product with high content of minerals. It contains rich potassium, sodium and is free from fat and cholesterol.”

Kaushalendra Singh