So many uses for the Coconut – by Francis Quamina Farrier

So many uses for the Coconut – by Francis Quamina Farrier

 Francis Quamina Farrier

Francis Quamina Farrier

It is safe to say that the just concluded Coconut Festival here in Guyana, was a great success. I will not be telling you about what the Powers-that-be had to say at the opening ceremony, as they made their official verbal presentations. Instead, I will tell you what I saw as an ordinary person, speaking with other ordinary citizens who attended the festival, and what was on display.

First, let me tell you of one of the banners promoting the Coconut Festival, which was hung on the fence of the National Library, at the corner of Main and Church Streets in downtown Georgetown, just opposite the Cenotaph. It was an attractive and eye-catching piece of graphic art-work, and I am sure that it did the job for which it was placed there; and that was to inform and induce passers-by, to go to the Arthur Chung Convention Center on the Lower East Coast of Demerara, where the Coconut Festival was being held.    

 Arriving at the Arthur Chung Convention Center, the first thing which caught my eyes even before I entered the compound, were the four coconut trees a short distance from each other on the strip of land between the Convention Center fence and the Public road; all were bearing coconut trees. At the entrance of the Center, was a larger-than-life edifice of a woman with a water coconut to her mouth and obviously enjoying the coconut water. It was most impressive, and reminded folks like myself of the once very popular song “Coconut Woman”, as sung by the great Jamaican entertainer, Harry Belafonte.

The dates of the Coconut Festival were October 21 to 23, 2016, in this Guyana’s Jubilee Year. I attended on Saturday October 22, and spent well over four hours there, interacting with the many stall holders as well as other visitors, who like myself, were very impressed with the variety of coconut-based items on display. For example, there were various brands of Coconut Oil including the Virgin Oil and the popular Meadow Brook Coconut oil produced by the Pomeroon Oil Mill at Charity on the Pomeroon river, in Region Number 2.

Other coconut-based products on display at that very inspiring Coconut Festival here in Guyana, included a bath soap with the apt name, “Naked Skin”. There was a stall which displayed fancy women’s hats made of the coconut fiber. And just in case you might be wondering whether there was a coconut-based alcoholic beverage at the Festival, let me tell you right away, that there was a Coconut rum. I must also let you know that there were many coconut-based toys and jewellery on display. Also garments which were embellished with coconut shell pieces. In that area of the Festival, was also the ‘humble’ pointer broom.

What I particularly found interesting, was the wide variety of Guyanese, as well as non-Guyanese, who attended that Coconut Festival. One gentleman wore a “T” shirt which had the images of coconut trees on it. He told me that it was purposeful that he wore that particular shirt to the Coconut Festival.  There were also quite a number of students who were there. Students from the Belladrum Secondary School came all the way from the West Coast of Berbice, Region Number 5, They were evidently, and obviously, enjoying their visit to the Coconut Festival.

Earlier, I mentioned the four coconut trees which are at the front of the Arthur Convention Center; and now I need to let you know that there are also many coconut trees at the back of the Center. So it is also safe to say that the Arthur Chung Convention Center is sandwiched with coconut trees. It may also be safe to say that there is a resurgence of the use of the previously demonized coconut; especially its use in the kitchen. There is also a not-too-well known use of the coconut. I attended an 85th Birthday Pooja just a day before I attended the Jubilee Year Coconut Festival in Georgetown. And there I saw, the coconut being used as an important element of a Religious Ceremony.

pooja

“Coconuts in use at the 85 Birthday Pooja Ceremony of Ma Jadoopat, at Grove, East Bank Demerara, last week Friday October 21, 2016.”

virgin

Francis Quamina Farrier displaying a bottle of Meadow Brook Coconut Oil at the Coconut Festival on Saturday October 22, 2016.

banner

“The Coconut Festival banner on the fence of the National Library in Georgetown”

pastor

Pastor Noel wearing his “Coconut ‘T’ shirt” at the Coconut Festival

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Comments

  • cedricthompson@telus.net  On October 25, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    WHERE ARE THE USES????????It is the healthiest oil on the planet!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • demerwater  On October 27, 2016 at 6:16 am

    I wish I had kept a book from my student days; “The Coconut Palm” by Menon and Pandalai. It is now out of print but might be available in a University or Ministry of Agriculture library. Here is a quote from a review.

    ” A masterful study that considers all aspects of the majestic palm — hailed by the authors as worthy of the “eulogistic epithets” by which it is known: Tree of Heaven, the Consuls of the East, Tree of Life, Tree of Abundance, Tree of Plenty, etc. Why? Because “each and every part of the coconut palm is useful to man in one way or another.”

    I do not know that another such comprehensive compilation has been done

  • De Castro  On October 31, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Question
    Is there a coconut nursery where one
    can purchase baby coconut trees to
    plant in their garden ?
    I remember my boyhood days at unity
    Coconut farm….coconuts that fell and
    not collected “germinated” into baby
    trees which were later collected and
    replanted or sold.
    Converting sugar cane fields into coconut plantation seems logical.
    Sugar is dying, coconut its baby.
    Not rocket science

    Simple Simon

  • demerwater  On October 31, 2016 at 3:52 am

    Kamptan! Where have you been? Good to have you back.
    Sugar cane is a grass; an annual. It completes its life cycle in one year. You mow it one year and it grows back. You take care of it and in a year’s time you reap its benefits once again. There is a limit! …. except, probably, the block of fields LR 37 to 73 at LBI estate which was in its 17th ratoon around 1970; and still yielding well.
    The coconut is more like an orchard crop – citrus, avocado and mango. You must have other resources to sustain you (and family) through the years it takes the newly planted palms to start producing – 3 to 5 years!
    http://www.cri.gov.lk/web/

    • De Castro  On October 31, 2016 at 6:36 am

      Sorry my friend been travelling …EU.
      Thanks that info re coconut.

      Ok it’s 3 to 5 years …in today’s language it’s not a lifetime to invest.
      …before returns.
      My farmland in Spain has 75 olive
      50 orange and 20 almond trees.
      I have tried 50 different fruit trees
      with plums peaches apricots and grapes best result.
      Am not “commercial” farmer but
      have my neighbour who takes
      all my excess production to market.
      Or feeds his pigs.
      In return he picks all and gives me
      20-30 ltrs olive oil in return.
      He is from a farming family so
      understand the traditional ways
      of cultivating/picking/processing.
      All locally.
      EU had farm subsidies and has since
      removed it…why ?
      Butter and wheat mountains and
      wine lakes. Storage was senseless.
      Now farming in EU is fine tuned to
      produce only sufficient for its internal
      EU market….no more mountains
      or lakes storage.

      Maybe Guyana govt can introduce
      3/5 year subsidy to enhance production for its internal market
      with excess recycled/processed
      for export.

      Just another way of searching for
      best solutions for Guyanese problems.
      But hey am no politican promising
      the Forrest and only producing the
      leaves.
      Catch 22
      Corruption the “stigmata” not to mention the guns/drug culture.
      My take
      Kamtan

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