Monday, October 4, 2010



One time in my youth, Belize exported coconut meat. There was a thriving industry in coconuts. A disease came down from the Yucatan and destroyed all those lovely native tall coconut palms, that were so productive. In recent decades the coconut variety has been replaced by dwarfs imported from abroad, that are disease resistant to that particular problem. Unlike the olden times, the coconuts of today do not produce much meat, but do produce coconut water. Strange as it may seem our small population actually imports coconut water in plastic containers for cooking and drinking purposes. The Caribbean is acting in some parts as an import/processing-packaging and re-exporting industry today. Coconut water is no exception, as we do not produce it ourselves in commercial scale. World wide sales in the last three years have risen to over $20 usa. Million. Our local production is about 850,000 nuts per year. Coconut water is known to produce good health. Coconut water besides being sterile, is rich in electrolytes, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals all in a natural form. The world market seems insatiable. US packagers cannot keep up with the demand, nor find the supplies. The coconut trees around Belize nowadays are the 5 year bearing Mayapans and the dwarf types which bear in 2 or 3 years. I have them around my house and in my yard. Coconuts for coconut water are harvested at 5 to 6 months. Current production in Belize is about 850,000 nuts per year. Coconuts are sold at .38 cents a nut, though locals come to me and get mine FREE. I do occasionally get offered .25 cents each, which I usually refuse for the half dozen somebody may want for local food preparation.
Our current store bought coconut water is imported from Thailand and Singapore, but is re-packaged either in Trinidad, or Jamaica and exported to us here in Belize under a CARICOM preferential customs tariff agreement. We also import coconut oil for cooking from the FAR EAST. A 16 oz container of coconut water retails for $2 Bz currency. The cans are about $2.75, or up to $3.50 depending on who is selling.

No comments: