A COMMERCIAL coconut harvesting trial could be coming to Douglas Shire.
Council officers will investigate the possibility of harvesting mature coconuts on Council-controlled land under the Coconut Action Plan 2018/19.
The plan was adopted by Douglas Shire Council at this week’s Ordinary Meeting.
Mayor Julia Leu said Council had an opportunity to crack a lucrative global market.
“Coconut products are a fast-growing industry,” she said.
“This could be a fantastic economic development opportunity and a reliable revenue stream for Douglas Shire ratepayers.
“Council wants to find out if this is a real option, which would be a proactive and beneficial way to improve safety and reduce the impact of coconut debris.”
Demand for coconut products has increased by more than 500% in the past decade.
Coconut water is now a $300 million-plus global industry and world prices have more than doubled in the past three years.
About 90% of the world’s coconut supply comes from Asia.
Products include coconut oil, flakes, sugar, milk, cream, water, flour and shredded coconut.
There are more than 11,000 coconut palms in Douglas Shire, including about 8,500 palms on council-controlled land.
Mayor Leu said Council needed to make sure it is viable option.
“Council needs to make sure we find a suitable site that will not interfere with residents and visitors,” she said.
This exercise would include locating a suitable site, best practice extraction methods, occupational health and safety requirements, public liability requirements and inspection and verification methods.
Council will also be de-nutting, removing high-risk coconut palms for public safety and start the Oak Beach Foreshore Restoration Project under the new action plan.
This will also involve strong consultation with landowners and residents about identified coconut palms.