Rehabilitation program for coconut trees

Assistant Minister for Agriculture Viam Pillay leads the march in Savusavu Town. Picture: SUPPLIED

THROUGH efforts to rehabilitate coconut trees around the country following TC Winston, Fiji has so far raised over 40,000 seed nuts to seedling stage.

Officiating during the World Coconut Day Celebration in Savusavu yesterday, Assistant Minister for Agriculture Viam Pillay said the program would continue over the next three to four years to replace fallen trees as well as senile trees which were more than 35 per cent of the current strands.

Mr Pillay said around 70 to 80 per cent of Fiji’s coconut palms were more than 100 years old and were of the “Fiji Tall Variety”, while 20 to 30 per cent of the coconut tree population were under 50 years old.

“The average nut production in Fiji is 25 to 30 nuts per tree per year for older trees, while younger palms below 50 years are around 50 to 60 nuts per tree per year,” he said.

“In terms of seedlings, TC Winston severely affected the main coconut growing areas in Vanua Levu, Northern Lau, Lomaiviti, Tailevu North and Ra areas.

“Given that most nuts fell after TC Winston, the ministry managed to get seed nuts from Rotuma for our rehabilitation.”

Mr Pillay said they were still searching for seed nuts because the ministry was also competing with other users in terms of products such as virgin coconut oil, coconut water, copra, other biproducts for local consumption.

The day was marked with a march through Savusavu Town yesterday.