© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Occupations Food Production Market Small Business Building Other Occupations

Coconut Merchants

When an owner of coconut trees notices they are ready for harvesting, they contact a coconut merchant. The merchant may well have pickers whom he regularly uses. The harvested coconuts are collected into piles of the different sizes - larger ones command a higher prices. The picker chooses his coconuts.

A price per coconut is agreed and the piles are counted and loaded onto the merchant’s trailer. As each coconut is loaded it is shaken to ensure it is not dried up inside.

The merchants then arrange to sell either in markets or small shops or they may own a coconut oil press in which case they are able to process and sell coconut oil.

Whilst the picker (who is amongst the fronds) is throwing down the ripened coconuts, the owner stands well back.

When he has finished, she collects the coconuts into piles for the coconut merchant to assess and price.

The merchant waiting by his trailer for the picking to be completed and for the coconuts to be gathered up into piles. The coconuts are then loaded into the trailer.

Small tractors like this one, are suitable for this work as they can fit into the often small spaces between the coconut trees. This merchant is buying the coconuts for his coconut oil press.

The outer shells are stripped off and the inner fibres are sold on to coconut string and rope makers. The white flesh is used for making coconut milk used extensively in Sri Lankan cooking. The inner shells provide fuel for cooking. The fronds are sold to coconut thatch weavers.