Covering the diet of nearly one-third of the population, this drupe, serves more than just one benefits. The drink refreshes one in hot tropical summers, the lovely aroma of coconut milk adds flavour to meals, and the hot coconut oil message calms the exhausted nerves. Thus the fruit, no doubt, deserve a special day to appreciate the various ways it has helped human beings.
World Coconut day, a celebration, that began in 2009, is conducted on 2 September every year to bring all coconut lovers together and educate the masses about the goodness of this fruit. However, there is a lot more to it than just health benefits.
In an exclusive interview with IBTimes Singapore, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, India, scientist Naresh Kumar Soora told about his journey and experience in his research on coconuts. He also gave an insight on how climate change has affected the growth and cultivation of the plant and his current work on improving the productivity.
Coconut cultivation, its growth and climatic conditions go hand in hand. Adverse climatic conditions have a negative impact on the plant. Being one of the most abundantly used products in South Asian countries, its maintenance and constant supervision thus become a necessity.
"Agronomic adaptations like soil moisture conservation, summer irrigation, drip irrigation, and fertilizer application cannot only minimize losses in majority of coconut growing regions but also improve productivity substantially," says Soora.
However, these sustainable methods are not enough to safe guard the plants from the climatic changes the region facing. He also said that the cultivation can only flourish if the climate conditions are right.
The right kind of climate, management and intensive genetic, agronomic adaptation can substantially benefit the coconut production in India. Such a strategy can increase the productivity by 33% in 2030, and by 25–32% in 2080, said the scientist. In fact, productivity can be improved by 20% if all coconut plantations in India are provided with the above-mentioned management.
Soora also said that further research on how to increase the productivity of this fruit is going on. Meanwhile, the importance and uses of coconut and its bi-products have caught the attention of people around the world and he believes that its medicinal and therapeutic properties can help create a more sustainable future.
World Coconut Day also coincides with the establishment of the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), its headquarters being in Jakarta, Indonesia. "A Healthy Wealthy Life with Coconut" is this year's theme for the "World Coconut Day".