The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mananya Thaiset, has surveyed the development of a new species of coconut in Surat Thani province, being expedited after supermarkets in the United Kingdom discontinued the purchase of Thai coconut products following accusations of animal abuse by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The Department of Agriculture is developing a hybrid species of coconut, which would be able to grow at a rate of two thousand fruits per 0.16 hectares in a year. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives also visited a demonstration farm, to see how coconuts are collected for export, noting processing of the coconuts is 90 percent done by a human workforce.
Mananya indicated demand for coconuts has risen consistently for the past 3 years, both domestically and globally, which is why the ministry is supporting domestic growing. The species being used for development is currently in high demand, with over a million trees on back order, prompting government assistance to accelerate production.
On the situation in the UK, Ms. Mananya said it is a matter of cultural difference, reminding people that Thailand has an Animal Protection Act and that most monkeys used for collecting coconuts are used by households, not at the industrial level. (NNT)