Regarded as the Kapruka or the Tree of Life, the coconut tree has been connected with Sri Lanka and its culinary culture for generations.
This Kapruka which was spread all over the island in the past, is currently not grown in abundance as before.
In the recent past Sri Lanka’s main export earnings were from tea, rubber and coconut, respectively. Whilst maintaining a well established export industry coconut also retained a strong domestic value as a customary, essential ingredient in preparation of Sri Lankan food.
Until recent times coconut trees were commonly seen throughout the country in places such as home gardens, road sides and public areas of villages and towns as well as in coconut plantations.
Thus, Sri Lankans relied mostly on the crop of their own gardens for day to day consumption.
However, this changed drastically during the past few decades when coconut trees gradually disappeared from residential lands.
Also due to the demands of rapid urbanisation, large scale coconut plantations were fragmented by different companies and persons with various business objectives.
The supply of coconuts became inadequate to meet the demand for both domestic use and export oriented industries within a short period of time.
A grave negative impact on every aspect of the coconut industry and a further increase of coconut prices cannot be avoided if the decline in the coconut crop continues into the next decade.
However,it is possible to prevent this if prompt action is taken now at this critical juncture. A positive plan of action will be to address the root-cause of the problem, the insufficiency of coconuts trees.
Sri Lanka’s per capita coconut consumption is high as our conventional diet is heavily dependent on coconuts.
Currently about 1.8 billion coconuts, which is approximately 70% of the annual crop are utilised in households for food preparation. Recent studies have concluded that the yield of one coconut tree fulfils the annual need of one person.
good hands concept introduces the idea that planting and cultivating a minimum of one new tree per individual would yield a minimum of 1.8 billion additional more nuts per year nationally.
Whilst facilitating a considerable ease on household expenditure, this concept will create household food security which will in turn help to establish national food security.
Furthermore, the approximately 1.8 billion currently grown nuts saved up from domestic consumption through the good hands concept will subsequently be available for manufacturing of export oriented value added coconut kernel based products.
This would in turn bring in additional foreign currency income contributing to rapid economic development of the country.
good hands – The way forward
Let each individual grow at least one new coconut tree in any available location.
This would result in a new cluster of coconut trees equivalent in number to the national population, which will in turn fulfil the total local household coconut requirement.
Own grown coconuts shall bring direct benefits through cost savings and ensure food security of the family leading to food security of the country. Moreover, every coconut acquired from each new coconut tree that is planted, replaces a currently grown coconut that could be used to manufacture export oriented coconut products.
Thus each and every Sri Lankan who plants a new coconut tree becomes a contributor to earning foreign exchange for the country.
A simple act of good hands today will nourish the entire nation tomorrow.
good hands – Community Contribution
Encouragement and information will be provided to every Sri Lankan to plant at least one new coconut tree in any suitable location and to care for it at every stage from acquiring seeds/seedlings to harvesting.
Constructive suggestions and advice for the progress of this national cause are sought from the citizens, industrial partners, coconut growers, government authorities and all other relevant parties in order to collectively achieve the ultimate goals.
Did you know?
>>> A coconut tree fructifies generally after five years? Or A coconut tree yields generally after five years?
>>> The most matured, fruitful age is between 30 to 50?
>>> After that age deterioration sets in?
>>> Tree expires at the age of 80?
>>> We, then today, eat, utilize for various coconut based industries, the coconuts not planted by us but the harvest of the coconut trees planted by our forefathers?
>>> If we do not act today and grow at least one coconut tree, we do not fulfill our duty towards our children and children of theirs?
>>> If we do not act today and now, not only there will be no coconuts for their consumption but there will be no coconut tree for them to see?
>>> That there is universal acceptance as Sri Lankans are a grateful nation admiring quality of gratitude?
>>> Hence, should not we who used the coconuts planted by our ancestors grow at least one coconut plant to express them our gratitude as well as for future generation?