THE POTENTIAL OF THE COCONUT: A GOLDEN RESOURCE IN THE VIETNAMESE INDUSTRY

The coconut industry in Vietnam significantly contributes to the livelihoods of over 389,530 farmers and drives the export value of coconuts and coconut-related products to over 900 million USD, placing the country as the fourth-largest player in the global coconut market.Coconut trees and coconut oil products are widely cultivated throughout the country, particularly in coastal and Mekong Delta regions such as Binh Dinh, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Tien Giang, and Vinh Long. Ben Tre is regarded as a major hub, covering an area exceeding 72,000 hectares in 2022.

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The coconut, a versatile and valuable crop, not only yields coconut oil but also finds applications in various industries. Notably, the coconut productivity in Ben Tre province reaches 9,863 fruits per hectare per year, equivalent to 1.9 tons of copra per hectare, surpassing the average of countries within the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), which stands at 0.9 tons of copra per hectare.

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Nevertheless, the coconut industry in Vietnam faces challenges, particularly in research and processing compared to other nations. Countries like the Philippines and Indonesia have established longstanding coconut processing industries, leading in the production of premium coconut products. For instance, the Philippines focuses on developing organic coconuts and enhancing the value of coconuts, including coconut milk, coconut ice cream, pure coconut oil, whitening products, and other items derived from pure coconut oil (lip balm, mouth fresheners, nasal sprays). Indonesia concentrates on exporting various coconut products, such as coconut water, coconut ice cream, coconut powder, and dried coconut, to numerous regions worldwide.

The limitations in coconut processing research in Vietnam stem from financial constraints, especially in acquiring specialized equipment and advanced technologies. To address this issue and stimulate the development of the coconut industry, it is crucial for the government to show interest. Specific measures include planning coconut cultivation zones, investing in research on coconut varieties and processing techniques, and providing technical and financial support for farmers and businesses. Additionally, efforts to promote and brand Vietnamese coconut products should be intensified to enhance their value on the international market.

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