Coconuts could be Barbados’ next cash crop – officials

Government is pushing ahead with plans to develop a viable coconut industry here.

During the first in a series of stakeholder meetings at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic this morning, Chief Economist in the Ministry of Agriculture Suzette Edey-Babb told the gathering of mostly planters that the industry had the potential to generate substantial income.

However, she said Government was taking “a value chain approach” to its development “by meeting the players in each sector and finding out what they need, so that we can better develop policies to govern it”.

Currently, there are said to be over 60 coconut water vendors in Barbados.

And amid growing interest in planting the crop for commercial purposes, officials say more businesses are using coconut-derived products in their operations.

However, the Caribbean is faced with numerous challenges, including high input and labour costs.

This morning Ansari Hosein, the local representative for the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), also said the region’s aging population was a factor, so too its “limited coconut gene pool, lack of quality planting material, prevalence of diseases, inadequate research and development, and the lack of an integrated approach to developing the sector”.

In response to those concerns, Senior Agricultural Officer with the Plant Quarantine Department Michael James singled out Brazil as a potential source market for planting materials.

“We wrote to our counterparts in that country to find out what diseases and insects they were grappling with in their coconut industry, and our aim is to ensure that we do not create a situation where some of those pests end up over here.

“Any area you want to bring coconut plants from must be free from lethal yellowing, and if you want to bring in tissue culture or nuts you must ask permission from the Plant Quarantine Department first. If not, we will either send the plants back or destroy them,” he warned.

Planters were also advised that since coconut palms took a long time to mature — three to six years in the case of dwarf coconuts and six to ten years for the taller ones — it would make sense to intercrop them with other commodities like sweet potatoes and hot peppers over a seven-year period.

Over the next two weeks the ministry will also meet with coconut vendors and processors.

16 Responses to Coconuts could be Barbados’ next cash crop – officials

  1. Jan Hold
    Jan Hold June 28, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    And put the small man out of businessss now

  2. Jason Greenidge
    Jason Greenidge June 28, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Weed.. the sea one “too”

  3. Javier Maynard
    Javier Maynard June 28, 2017 at 11:07 pm


  4. Nicholas Mackie
    Nicholas Mackie June 28, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Nobody grows coconuts in barbados

    • Kevin June 29, 2017 at 10:22 am

      Speak for yourself. My family has land in which the grow coconut trees. Not on any large scale. But they get a few sales from people looking for the dried coconuts to pastries and the same coconut vendors looking to get coconuts to sell the water.

  5. Alejuandro Tezu
    Alejuandro Tezu June 28, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    So which business magnet and political buddies is going to control 90% of this and cash big on it? while the small man gets the scraps of the 10% -_-

  6. J. Payne June 29, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Interesting suggestion, but as one of the most densely populated islands in the world (in the top 20) Barbados doesn’t have the ample land area available for coconut estates.
    It takes a quite a bit of land to yield considerable amount of coconuts. They don’t grow very fast and with the amount of wood ants means it’ll take a lot of spraying to keep the trees free of termites. Barbados is too expensive to think enough foreign exchange will be generated by a few coconuts. Yet more useless ideas from the DLP administration.

  7. J. Carter June 29, 2017 at 1:05 am

    J. Payne I am sure the coconut vendors will not share your opinion the seeking to provide more coconut trees is a useless idea. Those 60 vendors depend on a constant supply of coconuts. No one is suggesting that coconuts will replace tourism. But any activity that provides a service and adds to the GDP is welcomed, I think. Also, it provides jobs for 60 people and more will probably be added as the supply of coconuts increases.

  8. Sylvie June 29, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Some ” big”” business person or persons have. plans for the coconut business It is despicable how money greases hands and as a result Small vendors suffer! Terrible!

  9. Morris Redman June 29, 2017 at 11:15 am

    With the high rate of diabetes, why not grow karela (bitter melon). It is available in every supermarket in Canada’s major cities, fresh, frozen or as pills at the Pharmacies in Canada. But when I visit Barbados it is hard to find. Supermarkets could sell it. It is a simple crop taking about 6 to 8 weeks to harvest. It is needed as a cheap alternative to other remedies which are not natural. BAS should promote it, the excess could be exported.

  10. Helicopter(8P) June 29, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Well written! It’s a potential industry and money earner just look at the beverage and cosmetic shelves in NY City!

  11. Alex Alleyne June 29, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Government also put real money into the “RIVER TAMARIND” trees ……. for nothing.

    • Belfast June 29, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      Plant more coconut trees alongside the 40 acres of breadfruit trees that Ronald Jones is planning on.
      Who says that these trees will produce ? Look around. when last have you seen an abundance of those precious little creatures which pollinate our plants? Honey Bees , Ladybirds, Yellow Breasts, Dr Boobies, Brown and Black cow bees.

  12. hcalndre June 29, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    J.Payne; After all these humpteen years some one now comes up with the idea of coconut farming knowing very well Barbados don`t have the land to produce coconuts on a big scale, to sell to who and to set up a bottling or canning plant is out of the question, the islands could supply Barbados, so all they want to do is stop the poor venders from making a living, Right now they still have to bring in the hard nut because what they don`t stay on the trees to become dried.

  13. hcalndre June 30, 2017 at 1:24 am

    Barbados for umpteen years being getting hard or dried coconuts from the islands and all of a sudden some smartie wants to stop the poor vendor from making a dollar. At present all the coconuts that the venders sell is the water. I know that Jamaica exports coconut water by a company call Grace and maybe another company. You can`t just get up one morning and think that Barbados could produce that amount of coconuts, build a can and bottling plant and compete with the countries that have coconut trees as far as your eyes could see. The only export Barbados had was the sugar and that`s finished, every thing else is imported and that`s how it will be.


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