Sunday, December 10, 2023


According to a report by Washington Post titled 'Thailand denies monkeys abused to harvest coconut products' which was posted in 2019 relevant for discussion. Coconut (Cocos nucifera) are one of the important commodities in Thailand especially at the coastal area. One of the most popular coconut in Thailand are Aromatic Coconut or in Malaysia known as 'Kelapa Pandan'. A working monkey rides on the back of a pickup truck with its owner and other workers to collect coconuts on a plantation in Chumphon province, southern Thailand. Thailand’s coconut-picking monkeys are a long a popular tourist attraction and have become a sensitive trade issue as British activists claim the animals are abused and push for a boycott of the nation’s coconut products.  The full report are published online at  www.washington world/ europe/ thailandThai Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit rejected the issue on the allegations made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and declared that coconut harvesting by macaque monkeys is not a major part of the industry. He said the animals are mostly a tourist attraction and are not harmed. This time in the blog "Anim Agriculture Technology" I rewrite a report by Washington Post regarding this issue.

In the issue of ccoconut-picking monkey, there is a difference between coconut harvesting using monkeys because of tradition or for tourism and coconut harvesting on an commercial industrial scale. It is not profitable to use of monkeys at the industry level. They have tools and methods to pick coconuts that are efficient and more profitable. Jurin said Monday that PETA’s campaign was affecting sales in Britain as well as other European countries. Thailand report that they exported 12.3 billion baht (USD395 million) of coconut milk in 2019 and increase ini 2023 including 2.2 billion baht (USD71 million) to the European Union and Britain, according to the government.  PETA said an undercover investigation of eight Thai farms found that monkeys are forced to gather as many as 1,000 coconuts a day and treated cruelly. It said its campaign has led several major retail outlets to remove products from companies alleged to use Thai coconuts harvested by monkeys. The PETA campaign has drawn extra attention after it was publicly applauded by Carrie Symonds, the fiancee of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker rejected the Thai commerce minister’s denial of monkey abuse in the industry. The government can lead the industry to operate humanely, with an animal-free method that the rest of the region has already adopted, or it can be responsible for the industry’s downfall, because the writing is on the wall. An increasing numbers of consumers are speaking with their wallets, and retailers are listening. The ministry would hold a meeting Wednesday with coconut industry representatives and he would invite foreign diplomats to see for themselves how harvesting is carried out.

Most coconut farmers in Thailand are hiring pickers with cutters on long poles to pick coconuts. Macaques are used but very rarely as said by Nukul Luk-In as the president of the Coconut Farmers Association. However during some kind of harvests, they will use a macaque to reach a very high tree that cannot be reached by pickers. So the usage actually are very rare. The isteresting part are comments by Somjai Saekow known as a monkey trainer in the southern province of Surat Thani (See picure). Although monkeys are still used for gathering coconuts but there is less demand for them. He still think monkeys are useful tools in picking coconuts. He actually can tell that things are changing in which over the years shorter trees have been cultivated to facilitate picking coconuts by other methods. The hybrid coconut as the combination of Tall Coconut Variety and Dwarf Coconut Variety produce a significant plant height for harvesting. In Malaysia the MATAG variety for example are a kind of hybrid variety also grown in Thailand. Most owners take good care of their monkeys and treat them just like pets although there were sure to be some exceptions. They have to point out those who commit the wrongs and correct them. Many farmers believe that most people treat their monkeys right in which it was one of the best way to get them to work n plucking coconut. The technology of coconut plucking activity yet to be improve to replace the monkey-picking jobs in the future. Thanks...
M Anim,
Completed on August 2020.
Updated December 2023.

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