Coconut growers insisted that no monkeys were abused to pick coconuts and concerned parties saw it two years ago.
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Pongsak Butrak, chair of a network of organic coconut growers in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, responded to the reports that supermarkets in Britain would ban some Thai coconut products for fear of monkeys being abused to pick up coconuts in Thailand.
He said that there were over 2,000 rai of organic coconut plantations in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Their yields were processed into coconut milk that was popular in the European Union.
He said that two years ago representatives of the EU had inquired about the use of monkeys to pick coconuts. Later Thai traders invited concerned parties to inspect the business and proved that no monkeys were abused as accused by a non-governmental organization.
Former Prachuap Khiri Khan MP candidate Somnuek Roongkamjad said the accusation about monkey abuse might have an ulterior motive to ban Thai products. In the past, Thai rice farmers had used water buffaloes in paddy fields and foreigners never banned Thai rice, he said.
Coconut trees were grown in Thap Sakae district for over a century and gave premium coconut milk. Parts of the coconut trees were more than 80 meters tall and farmers had to use monkeys to pick coconuts, Mr Somnuek said. He assured farmers took good care of their monkeys and there were schools to train monkeys for the activity. (TNA)