The Department of Agriculture has issued ‘monkey-free’ certificates to coconut farmers in Ratchaburi and Samut Sakhon provinces to verify that their harvests are free of animal cruelty.
The certificate confirms that no monkeys were used or mistreated during the coconut collection process.
PETA Asia brought the issue of Thai farmers using monkeys to collect coconuts on their farms to the world’s attention in 2020, with British supermarkets being the first to express concerns over the practice.
In response, the Department of Agriculture held a virtual meeting with the International Coconut Community (ICC) and applied the principles of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) to the industry. This led to the launch of the “GAP Monkey-Free Plus” program in Thailand.
According to Department of Agriculture Director-General Rapeepat Chansriwong, the GAP Monkey-Free Plus certificates were granted to Theppadungporn Coconut Co Ltd in Ratchaburi and K-Fresh Co Ltd in Samut Sakhon.
During the award ceremony, Rapeepat encouraged other coconut farmers to join the program, stating that those interested can register at any branch of the department’s Agricultural Research and Development Center.
Before certification can be issued or utilized, each registered farm must be able to demonstrate that its coconut harvesting process adheres to GAP Monkey-Free Plus standards. The procedure is being conducted by a group of ministry officials.
In 2021, Thailand exported 236.3 billion tons of coconut milk valued at 12.8 billion baht. In the United States and Europe, Thai coconut milk currently holds the largest market share for coconut milk products.