Coconuts made big news last weekend. News outlets, including one in the Netherlands, reported that large retailers across the world want to ban certain Thai coconut products. The chains include the Dutch Albert Heijn, as well as supermarkets in the UK and the USA.
In Thailand, they use monkeys to harvest the coconuts for these products. The decision's a result of the PETA investigation. This animal rights organization checked out the macaque monkeys' living conditions. According to this organization, the animals are being mistreated. And they show signs of 'extreme stress'.
Hans van der Kooij of the Dutch company, Jokofruit, is aware of this monkey labor practice in Thailand. But, there are no monkeys used in his company's import flows.
"We get our coconuts from only the Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, and the Dominican Republic. They are harvested by people using long poles. Harvesting is done entirely by hand in these countries."
It's not yet a big issue for Jokofruit's clients, says Hans. "Coincidentally, we had a Belgian retail client pose that question to us at the beginning of the year. Like our partner, N&K, we have statements regarding this from our suppliers. These have already been given to the supermarkets."
"But, we're happy to tell our side of the story. It's clear. Last weekend, UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson's, fiancée, Carrie Symonds, was tweeting up a storm. She said supermarkets should ban coconuts. Please have her add that these are specific coconuts - those supplied by Thai companies. Otherwise, in our opinion, it's an urban legend," Hans concludes.
For more information:
Hans van der Kooij
JokoFruit/Joko Impex b.v.
Tel: +31 (0) 104 761 166