Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Coconut Crisis Looms as Postwar Palm Trees Age: Southeast Asia

Asia’s coconut palms, which mark the landscape from the Philippines to India, face a crisis as aging groves become less productive, with harvests that are a source of food and income for millions being outstripped by demand.

The trees, many of which were planted about 50 to 60 years ago, no longer yield enough to meet rising demand, according to the Rome-based Food & Agriculture Organization. There’s an urgent need for replanting, said Hiroyuki Konuma, regional representative for Asia and the Pacific at the UN agency, which is coordinating a response to the challenge. While world consumption of coconut products is growing more than 10 percent a year, production is increasing by only 2 percent, it said.