"Previously, we only grew coconuts for family consumption. Now, Tumaco produces them for the domestic market," said Jose Arismendi, the president of the National Foundation of Coconut Producers (Fedecoco).
Arismendi, a 59 year old farmer that lives in Tumaco, Narino, said the supply of coconuts had increased in his department in the past three years thanks to the development of phytosanitary policies and the implementation of projects, such as the eradication of diseased palms, and thanks to the technical assistance that the national government, together with local governments, has provided for them.
Tumaco is the largest producer of coconuts in Colombia. However, Cauca, Antioquia, Córdoba, and Valle del Cauca (where Fedecoco is also present) are also working to increase domestic production, which, according to Arismendi, unfortunately is below 42 percent.
"Farmers planted coconuts for generations without taking care of them and with no plans to market them, but now there are more than 2,960 people working to make a profitable quality product that can be marketed in remote cities, such as Bogotá," added Arismendi, who has cultivated this product for 40 years.
To meet quality standards, in 2017, producers will eradicate 400,000 diseased palms and rehabilitate 800,000 hectares in Tumaco to prevent diseases that affect the palm and coconut production.