Tuesday, December 5, 2017


This article about a report from the Star title as "Cashing in On Coconut'. It refers to my blog. According to a blog post by M. Anem ( ), a senior agronomist from the horticulture division of the Department of Agriculture, based on a calculation of 124 trees (the ideal number of trees per hectare), production rates can vary from 6,000 to 30,000 nuts a year, depending on the nut species. Among the species, the Malaysian Dwarf coconut is the most prolific of fruiters. An average price of 60 sen per nut for 11,000 coconuts would bring a plantation owner gross income of RM6,600 per year per hectare, minus the one-off initial development costs of RM4,344 per hectare. At last count, the total area for the major coconut growing states of Perak, Johor, Selangor, Sabah and Sarawak is believed to cover 88,190ha. Based on the above calculation, just the nuts alone would generate estimated revenue in the region of RM500mil a year. This article in ''Anim Agriculture Technology'' I share my views from this report.

As full-time model Siti An Naseha Ibrahim, 23, reveals, her parent’s 20-year-old coconut milk business at the Muhibbah Market in Taman Nirwana, Ampang, has afforded her stepfather an Audi TTS and her mother, a Mini Cooper S. As a birthday present last year, Siti herself received a yellow MyVi Special Edition. Their main customers are restaurants and caterers. It’s not so surprising that Siti’s parents have been able to thrive on this creamy ingredient. Take for example the often reviewed Ah Loy Curry Mee in Jalan Hujan Rahmat 3, off Jalan Kelang Lama. A typical day sees the business using no less than 100 coconuts for its sinfully rich curry gravy. And let’s not forget the silky smoothness of coconut oil. According to the Mundi Index of country profiles, Malaysia’s contribution to coconut oil production hovered at 35,000 tonnes last year. As of November 2012, the price per tonne was RM2,600, which means coconut oil pumped RM91mil into the country’s economy.

Tan Boon Yoong, age 55 of Biococo Marketing is one of the entrepreneurs who have jumped on this nutty bandwagon. A former advertising manager, the father of one started a company to market organic virgin coconut oil as a beauty oil and health product six years ago. Concentrating on a niche market, the Biococo range of products comprises of soaps, skin serums and edible virgin coconut oil. Tan started by introducing his products to pharmacies within the Klang Valley. Since then, sales have increased by 50% on a yearly basis as he ventured to other states and eventually overseas to Singapore, Australia, China and the United Kingdom. “Our current best sellers are the beauty products, with our skin repair serum which has anti-ageing and anti-wrinkle properties being very popular,” said Tan. Reporting yearly sales turnover of RM500,000 currently, Tan’s strategy is not to aim at the mass market but to target individually owned pharmacies where the owners are the backbone of the business. For him, nothing beats the personal approach when it comes to spreading product awareness. “Usually, these business owners will have better customers rapport than the chain stores, which translates to better acceptance of coconut oil as a health product. As it is, there is a public misperception about coconut oil which has to be dealt with,” said Tan, who cites this as one of his biggest challenges in addition to the current preferences of local farmers to focus on palm oil which promises a quicker and higher returns. With products priced between RM35 and RM140, Tan gets his supply of raw material from plantations along the west coast. He only selects mature coconuts that are no less than 12 months old for their thick, white flesh, and pays around RM2 per nut.

A typical order arrives at the plantation early in the morning where the nuts are dehusked to be sent to Tan’s factory by afternoon where the maximum output capacity is some 10,000 units of 250ml bottles of oil per month. The process, currently kept a company secret as Tan has yet to patent the technology, is 100% heat-free so that all nutrients in the oil are preserved. For many, the coconut maintains an evergreen appeal and in Lee Zhen Yi’s case it takes the form of a cooling and delicious jelly. The 56-year-old owner of Spazi Enterprise, who runs a wholesale baking-ingredients business, ventured into the making of coconut jellies three years ago when customers requested for plain dessert puddings. At that time, many of the puddings available on the supermarket shelves were flavoured. Ever willing to please, Lee worked on his recipe formula for the perfect jelly powder mix for two years, going to as far as Penang and Sabah to perform personal taste and texture tests. Lee and his coconut jellies finally made their debut at the 2012 Food Fair at the Mid Valley Mega Mall where he landed supply contracts with several restaurant chains. Since then, he has participated in three other major food and beverage fairs at the Putra World Trade Center and under the Malaysian Tourism Board. Coming in packs of 180gm at RM4 each and served in a whole coconut for RM9 each, Lee uses only the pandan variety of coconuts bought from Felda plantations. “The origin of the pandan coconut is from Thailand but there are also local growers. I felt that it would be better to buy local in order to support the Buy Malaysia drive and to foster closer relationships with my suppliers,” explained Lee.

With a daily production capacity of 10,000 bowls of coconut jelly, deliveries usually see some 500 coconuts per order, but two years ago, when Lee was just starting out, he ordered close to some 8,000 fruits at one shot, half of which went towards his experiments!.  “It is not cost effective to buy the fruits in small quantities so I usually order them by the lorry-load. “There was a shortage then so I had to import them from Thailand and India, thus the large number,” recalled Lee, who fortunately, still made a profit from the leftover coconuts thanks to his background in wholesale baking ingredients. At present, Lee has two outlets in Pearl Point Shopping Center and Scott Garden Shopping Mall, manned by four employees. He is planning to approach dessert cafes to market his jelly powders and is eyeing export markets such as Japan, the Middle East and Europe. With its reputation of being the “tree of life”, even coconut shells have become items of value as home accessories.

Sharon Chai, 56, of Red Envelope, a home d├ęcor boutique at Ikano Power Center, has been selling coconut shell products for more than 10 years. She said despite the fact coconut shells are a readily available and a surplus commodity in Malaysia she has to export her coconut shell cutlery and crockery from Indonesia and the Philippines. “I have tried going to the east coast to source locally, but for the same polished bowl which I can get for as low as RM10 from the Philippines, I would have to pay RM20 to a local craftsman. “And there is the issue of quantity. Ideally, I would like order up to 20 pieces per design, but the local craftsman will only agree to do 10, citing production difficulties,” revealed Chai. But she remains confident there is a demand for coconut shell products. “Bowls, lids, spoons, plates, incense holders, even buckles are some of the items that can come out of coconut shells. “What we need now are dedicated crafts people to make this a reality. The appeal is in the natural look which is highly appreciated by tourists and even locals,” said Chai, who is confident of inspiring a revival. The original articls from webs. news/community/ 2013/01/03/ cashing-in-on-coconuts/. Thanks for readings...

M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Coconut Experts at DoA,
Jorak Coconut Seedling Production Stationr,
Jorak, Ledang, Johor,
(12 RabiulAwal 1439H)
Posted fro MAS Golden Lounge,
Kuching, Sarawak.

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