World Coconut Day: Significance & Nutritional Benefits of the Fruit

Coconuts are known for their great versatility as evidence by many traditional uses ranging from food to cosmetics. Coconut forms a regular part of the diets of many people in the tropics and sub tropics. It is also distinct from other fruits for their large quantity of water and harvested as tendered nuts for potable coconut water.

Every year, September 2 is celebrated as World Coconut Day. It is one of the most popular fruits consumed in the world. Along with that, the fruit’s multipurpose nature makes it stand out from the rest. Right from extracting coconut water out of the nut to making coconut milk or oil from the flesh, the fruit is extremely versatile. 

The coconut palm has been successfully cultivated in coastal regions of South India as well as in Assam, Tripura and West Bengal. The area and average yield of coconut in Assam are 20340 Ha and 52 nos. nuts per bearing plant (Statistical data for 2015-16) respectively. The Average Yield of coconut in Assam per bearing palm is slightly low in comparison to National Average Yield (59 nos nuts per palm) due to poor management and cultural practices.

The production of coconut in Assam has also gone down due to the set up of mobile towers. The ray of the mobile towers damaged the roots of the trees for which the production has gone down.

The coconut water which is a very popular drink in the region can be preserved and can be marketed with higher shelf life.

Various products like vinegar, Vitamin B12 etc. also can be extracted from coconut with the help of right technology.

Assam produces around 10 lakh coconuts every year with every tree producing around 60 nuts per annum. The production of nuts per tree in other parts of the country is around 75 nuts per annum.

Coconut in Assam has a rich demand as it is used in different purposes. Coconut is the main ingredient during Bihu as many dishes are made from coconut- from laru to pitha (traditional items made in Bihu). It is also used in prasad in every pujas.

History and Significance

World Coconut Day is observed around the world to understand the benefits of the fruit along with raising awareness about how it can be grown and preserved. Several countries around the world specialize in manufacturing items made out of coconut that has become a part of our daily lives. 

This day was first celebrated in 2009 by the Asia Pacific Coconut Community. Since then, there has been no going back. Collaborating with UN-ESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific), APCC goes on to highlight its versatility and how it plays an important role in keeping us healthy. 

India also celebrates this day with great gusto. The Coconut Development Board promotes this in various states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, etc. 

Theme

Keeping COVID-19 in mind, this year’s theme for World Coconut Day is “Building a Safe Inclusive Resilient and Sustainable Coconut Community Amid COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond.”

Interesting Facts

To celebrate the day, here are some facts about the humble fruit. 

  1. A single coconut palm tree yields around 100 coconuts every year. 
  2. Coconuts take a year to ripen. 
  3. The word ‘coconut’ is derived out of a combination of the words ‘nut’ and a Portuguese word called ‘Coco.’
  4. 90% of the world’s coconut production comes from Asia.
  5. India is one of the world’s biggest exporters along with Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil and Sri Lanka 

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