Above: Jamaican coconut expert Dr Wayne Myrie inspects a section of Greg Stuart’s stock in North Eleuthera. From left: BAIC GM Benjamin Rahming, Myrie, Edison Key and Arnold Dorsett (BIS Photo/Gladstone Thurston)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Bahamian government is working to revitalise its coconut industry with a series of initiative across the country’s so-called Family Islands.
The projects have been led by the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation, which has helped set up farms and undertaken coconut productivity assessments.
Yesterday, Jamaican coconut specialist Dr Wayne Myrie took a survey of the production on the island of Eleuthera, along with visits to New Providence and South Andros.
The first part of the plan involves giving new life to the coconut industry to help meet local demand for trees, nuts, oil and water, as there is limited formally-organised planting of coconut orchards.
Most existing production is based on old trees and volunteer growth, with South Andros holding the highest coconut gee count and seen as a potential base for expansion.
“There is great potential for an industry here,” said Jamaican coconut specialist Dr Wayne Myrie. “There is a wide range of products that you can obtain from the coconut tree, which is why it’s called the “tree of heaven.”
Myrie was called in due to the need to introduce a new germ plasm to boost coconut productivity. Myrie’s presence was requested in order to assist and advise producers about new varieties and approaches to revitalize coconut production.
“We are exploring the possibilities of creating an industry from coconuts,” said Edison Key, executive chairman of the BAIC. “Every portion of the coconut can be used for something.”