Showing posts with label coconuts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coconuts. Show all posts

Thursday, November 21, 2013

You coconut, me coconut, us coconut!

 As the clock strikes 4 and I'm about to fall asleep on my desk, shuffling through some beauty tips that I will never use because I don't wear makeup (only on special occasions and when I have time for some mascara) or blow dry my hair, or have blonde curls that need moisturizer every few hours, something odd strikes me, I am kokonut oil! Yes, like most Pacific girls who have chores, jobs, family obligation, who are too busy  sometimes that we wonder if we've brush our teeth or not, I feel sorry for all the women in the world spending thousands of dollars on beauty products each year. Ohh the insanity!

There is one and ONLY one common beauty product that our great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, aunts have used since the beginning of infinity. COCONUT OIL.  We put it on our faces, hair, body and currently in our food, drinks etc.  This was our best kept secret until it was no longer a secret.  One day, a brilliant woman woke up from her slumber and decided to introduce the non-Pasifikans to our secret, COCONUT OIL.Coconut oil being used by celebrities like Miranda Kerr, Gisele Bundchen, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Anniston and others  have boosted the demand for coconut oil worldwide.  Whether women of the world are sucked in by the incredible marketing or affiliating the use of virgin coconut oil for their own skin with beauty, or both, this band wagon is full and more people are jumping on board.    .  Soon enough, they will come calling, asking, begging for more coconut oil.  They have discovered our secret and now want it for themselves.  For their skin, faces, lips, hips and so forth.  I am a coconut filled with coconut thoughts today.
Our virgin coconut oil has more than a hundred uses, and it's been flowing through our veins since the beginning of time.  The tree of life has been good to us, sheltering and protecting us.  Before the white man colonised us, coconuts was our faithful friend.  We used the trees to build houses, for clothing, utensils, medicine, tools and more uses than I can think of.

With so many companies asking for coconut oil, I wonder, how on earth will we be able to supply their demands continuously? We currently supply oil in large quantities because let's face it, Samoa has some of the best organic oil in the world.  Since these companies have increased the demand for coconut ant its by-products and with climate change, yes climate change ripples, our coconuts keep  falling over, maturing and dying. With Cyclone Evan, rushing and kicking over our coconuts at the beginning of this year, Samoa is slowly  recovering agriculturally and coconut-wise.

Is it wrong to sell our kokonuts for some paper-bag sealed nuts? No.  Nevertheless, it is a concern if everyone who didn't care about coconuts before suddenly steal from their neighbour because the cost has gone up.  In the past, you could find 20 coconuts for $5 or less, now the best deal you get is 6 for $5!Calculate the difference? This is because more demand, low supply, high cost: the basis of economics.  Coconuts are exported overseas, more and more people sell to companies instead of the local market. They get more money and soon enough our traditionals foods that are made magically from coconut cream (pe'epe'e) will dwindle and cease to exist.  Can you imagine our oka without real pe'epe'e? Our fa'alifu, palusami, vaisu, vaisalo, koko alaisa, faiai fe'e, pa'a (anything crawling/swimming in the sea) without our magic coconut cream ingredient? Ohhh the abomination!

While it's great that subsistence and semi-commercial farmers are earning money from the coconuts, I just hope that they are also growing more plants.  Coconut palms are grown in more than 80 countries of the world, with a total production of 61 million tonnes per year. The are very hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions (Wikipedia, 2013). They are also prone to diseases and it takes a while for them to mature.  Given the proper care and growing conditions, coconut palms produce their first fruit in 6 to 10 years, but takes 15 to 20 years to reach peak production(Leon,2013). That is a substantial amount of time to wait around for coconuts to be falling from the trees.

Our tree of life may cease to exist we keep giving it away.  If coconut oil is to be used in numerous products including filling up our car tanks, in beauty products,  this beautiful resource will no longer be found freely in our backyards. When the Middle East oil wells dry up, who will the world turn to next? Our coconuts may be the next source of renewable, cleaner, more affordable fuel.  Imagine the powerhouses sitting on the table with our future PM discussing ways to grow ONLY coconuts on our whole islands.  Imagine...

So my fellow coconuts, next time you enjoy a nice cold niu, think of the future. Think of our children and their children, will they ever taste what we've tasted? The beatiful, clear, clean, healthy taste of coconuti? 
An intriguing view of some coconuts hanging from a tree., 2013

I leave you now with a lovely, simple poem by Michael Flores Caasi

How beautiful to stare and to see,
Those palm ribs of my favorite coconut tree;
Where trunk is towering up and high.
Like birds soaring high in sky.
The fruits may be hard outside
but there's a clear and soft heart inside,
The juice within can make me strong
And make my joyful life so long.
My tree is always proud to stand
Where roots are tightly holding grounds;
At night when stars and moon are bright,
My tree smiles in perfect sight.
O dear O lovely coconut tree
Be still today, thanks for inspiring me.

Other interesting reads:
Mailelani Products
Samoa stories of families making a living from coconut oil
Body Shop Coconuts from Samoa
It is profitable (DME)
New Life with coconut life
Solomon Is "Coconut Technology Centre"
101 uses for coconut oil (Mama,2013) more benefits of coconut oil 
BODY SHOP products made from Samoa's very own Virgin Oil

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