Thursday, March 14, 2019


COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) are an important crop in Malaysia and few other ASEAN countries. The  crop are categorised as ''Plant of Life'' from the locals as there are many uses from this plant.  have been receiving quite a few requests of late regarding information in setting-up a coconut plantation. While I would love to write a comprehensive coverage of all aspects involved in establishing a coconut plantation, it will be an enormous undertaking, and something that cannot be covered simply in blog posts.  Instead, I will give some basics of starting a new coconut plantation, the key cost elements and man-power management al all requirements. In Malaysia currently there are about 96,000 hectare of coconut planted able to produce 650 million nuts annually. However Malaysia import 150 million nuts from Indonesia for processing anually.  Actually there are a number of important stages when attempting to set up a successful coconut plantation. Now, a lot of people may think: “What’s so difficult? Just look for a germinated coconut, dig a hole, and plant it!”. Well, that method may work if all you want is a coconut tree, or if the coconuts are meant to be ornamental plants. But for a thriving, production coconut plantation, extra care and consideration will be needed. This few series article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share the stages of planting new coconut farms.

Last steps in new coconut planting are step 6 that was Harvesting of coconuts. There are few categroies for coconut harvesting that was (a) Harvesting of tender nuts or KELAPA MUDA and (b) Harvesting of Old Mature Nuts or KELAPA TUA. Young or tender nuts are harvested when the nuts are about 7 months old. Harvesting intervals are 17-21 days per round, depending on the preferences of the buyers and the consumers. This is usually pertaining to the thickness and harness of the soft coconut flesh; at 17 days, the flesh are very jelly-like, whereas at 21 days, there is some firmness to the flesh. During harvesting, the harvester must remove all dried fronds and place them along the field drain edges, or cut them into smaller section and place them in the inter-palm spaces. Harvesting operation is a two-man job. One person climbs up the palms using a sturdy ladder, and attaches a harvesting harness (hook and rope) onto the bunch of coconut. The person below pulls the harness tout, to give some tension onto the bunch, and the stalk of the bunch is then cut and freed from the palm by the person on top. The person below will then carefully lower the bunch of coconut onto the ground. For harvesting tender nuts from a tall coconut palm mus note that use the rope being guided by the harvester, and the hooked bunch being lowered on the right. This method of harvesting ensures that the tender young coconuts are not bruised or damaged, since this will not only affect the appearance of the nuts, but any internal damages will cause the nuts to spoil fast. Bunches harvested this way will have a shelf life of 4-5 days if kept in chilled room. The harvested bunch being safely landed onto the ground. Notice the hook attached to the rope.

For me to harvesting of mature nuts need skills and passionate. This is because the mature nuts, coconuts are plucked when their exocarp (skin) turns fully brown. For hybrids and Dwarfs, harvesting is done every 36 days (10 rounds per year); whereas for MAWA, which are late germinators, harvesting intervals are 45 days per cycle (8 rounds per year). The harvesting operation consists of plucking the ripe nuts from the palms, or shaking them loose from the bunch using a long pole. Harvesting mature brown coconuts using a long pole (See photo next). Care must be given!. Since there have been cases when loose mature coconuts have fallen on people’s heads, leading to serious head injuries and death. It is suggested that safety helmets be provided when dealing with especially tall palms. For the general costings of setting up a coconut plantation need appropriate source.  From my observatiom the cost to set-up a coconut plantation will obviously vary according to location. The key variables are usually tied to the land (eg. terrain and contour, soil type), and also farm input costs (eg. labor costs, fertilizer prices, planting material costs). Thus, the following costings should be taken only as an approximation to the costs of starting a coconut plantation.

The most impportant cost to plant coconut are seedling cost (RM4,000/ha), inputs and maintainance praactices (RM15,200 / ha) and required about RM 1,936 for other costs giving cost of production RM21,136 /hectare. The is an important for farmere to know that do note however that the ideal size for a profitable coconut plantation is at least 4 hectares (10acres), and that the breakdown above has been pared down to fit 1 hectare. Also, costs may vary by location, local labor and equipment costs, etc. Thus, the figures above serve merely as a guide. Typical yields of a mature coconut plantation are 23,000 nuts/ha/year; but for your first 4 years of crop production (after the 3-year immature stage), yields would range around 10,000 nuts/ha/year only. Thus, the average cost factor for the first 4 years of crop production will be about RM0.68 per nut; thereafter, the cost of production will fall sharply to around RM0.08 per nut. Therefore, assuming no additional costs are incurred, a minimum sales price of RM1.00  -  RM1.50 per nut is needed to break even within the first 10 years. Hopefully, this post will now give everyone some idea about what is involved with starting up a coconut plantation!. The article continue for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 respectively. Thank You.

M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahru, Johor,
(3 September 2018).

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