The Coconut Industry Board has put forward a new strategic business and capital expenditure plan, targeting the planting of approximately 150,000 acres of coconuts over the next decade.
Hitting the target would more than triple the current 40,000 acres of coconuts.
The board is eyeing the “huge increase in demand” for coconut-based products as an opportunity and is proposing a joint venture initiative – with private sector partnership – to develop factories for coconut water and sports drink production facilities, as well as virgin coconut oil production facilities.
Some of that demand is filled by imports.
The Statistical Institute of Jamaica says that in 2015 approximately $1.3 billion (US$11.4million) of coconuts and coconut by-products were imported to satisfy local demand.
The new Coconut Board plans call for an investment of $3 billion over 10 years, with an anticipated internal rate of return of 29.1 per cent, the commodity board said in a statement.
“It is estimated that this plan could generate thousands of stable long-term jobs within the agricultural sector,” it stated.
The plan has been submitted to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries, seeking its support for the expansion industry.
The Coconut Board aims to engage 2,000 new small farmers, medium-sized growers and local and overseas investors, as a way to boost crop acreages.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner
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