|December 2011||Commodity news and trends|
|Prices for coconut oil, the benchmark for the wide range of coconut products, have increased in 2010 and in the first part of 2011, with the trend for many (but not all) tropical goods.
Coconut is considered to be the most valuable of the tropical palms, with products including coconut oil, copra (de-oiled coconut), and the husk (used to make rough textiles for a large variety of uses). The diversity of uses extends to coconut timber, and when coconut oil-linked prices are low, there is an incentive to harvest the timber, cutting down the trees which take 5-7 years to begin a productive life which can extend up to 60 years.
Worldwide coconut oil production is relatively small compared to palm oil (coconut oil yields per hectare are much smaller), but coconut oil is roughly twice the price per unit of palm oil. 40% of coconut oil is for food, and the remaining 60% goes to a wide variety of industrial uses.
The coconut tree grows best in tropical warmth without a wide variability of temperatures and high humidity, but it also highly tolerant of salty conditions (salt spray or salty mist), making it well suited for coastal regions. It is also good for steep slopes.
Worldwide production is primarily from the "coconut (southern) coast" of India, and from throughout the Philippines and Indonesia.
Coconut production is predominantly from smaller holdings, usually inter-cropped with a wide variety of complementary tropical plants, such as bananas and pepper. Coconuts take one year to mature, with harvests throughout the year.
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