As Demand For Coconut Rises, Plantations In Caribbean Wiped Out

Image courtesy of Great Beyond

As coconut milk is so popular that it hits Starbucks, coconut water remains a trendy low-calorie drink, and coconut oil is used for everything from skin care to actually cooking things, coconut farms in the Caribbean should be booming. They aren’t, though: they’re either exporting fruit while local people go without, or not growing at all.

The main culprit is called Lethal Yellowing Disease, and it’s about as bad as the name makes it sound. The disease caused whole coconut plantations in the region to fail, and that happened just as an international coconut boom was beginning.

As it became a popular substitute for cow’s milk that people with soy or nut allergies can drink and even trendy among paleo diet adherents, suddenly there was less of the fruit on the market.

“We want to get into more international markets and export more but there aren’t enough farms to buy from,” one coconut farmer told Bloomberg.

There’s even a counterfeit coconut issue: bottles that were labeled as coconut water in Tobago were confiscated, and even watered-down versions of the real thing appear on store shelves while what crops there are of the real thing get exported.

The Caribbean Is Running Out Of Coconuts [Bloomberg]

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