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Organisation: Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) (http://www.apcc.org.sg)
Author: P.G.Punchihewa and R.N. Arancon
Edited by AGSI/FAO: Danilo Mejia (Technical), Beverly Lewis (Language&Style), Carolin Bothe (HTML transfer)

CHAPTER XV COCONUT: Post-harvest Operations


1.1 Economic and Social Impact of Coconut

1.2 World Trade

1.3 Primary Products

1.4 Secondary and derived product

1.5 Requirements for Export and Quality Assurance


1. Introduction

In beauty and utility no other tree can surpass the coconut tree. It is the most extensively grown nut in the world, the most important palm. It provides people basic needs such as food, drink, shelter, fuel, furniture, medicine, decorative materials and much more. They are a necessity and a luxury. It is the "heavenly tree", "tree of life", "tree of abundance" and "nature's supermarket."

1.1 Economic and Social Impact of Coconut

Total world coconut area in 1996 was estimated at 11 million hectares and around 93 percent is found in the Asian and Pacific region. The two biggest producers Indonesia and the Philippines have about 3.7 million ha and 3.1 million ha respectively. India is the third largest producer. In the South Pacific countries, Papua New Guinea is the leading producer. In Africa, Tanzania is the largest producer while in Latin America Brazil accounts for more than one half of the total coconut area of that region. (See Table 1.).

Table 1. WORLD: Area of Coconut 1992-1996 (In 1000 Ha)

C o u n t r y

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

           

A. Asian and Pacific

10261

10244

10427

10555

10642

F.S. Micronesia

17

17

17

17

17

Fiji

65

65

65

64

65

India

1529

1538

1635

1714

1796

Indonesia

3599

3636

3681

3724

3745

Malaysia

315

310

305

290

280

Papua New Guinea

260

260

260

260

260

Philippines

3077

3075

3083

3064

3093

Solomon Islands

59

59

59

59

59

Sri Lanka

419

419

419

419

419

Thailand

389

336

397

412

377

Vanuatu

96

96

96

96

96

Vietnam

220

215

186

19

190

Western Samoa

46

50

55

75

75

Palau

14

14

14

14

14

Bangladesh

31

31

31

32

29

Myanmar

29

30

31

32

33

French Polynesia

50

50

50

50

50

Kiribati

27

25

25

25

26

Others

19

18

18

18

18

B. Africa

444

446

466

460

460

Benin

12

12

12

12

12

Comoros

17

17

18

18

18

Ghana

28

30

46

40

40

Ivory Coast

33

33

32

32

32

Madagascar

33

33

33

33

33

Tanzania

305

305

310

310

310

Others

16

16

15

15

15

C. America

484

448

456

459

476

Brazil

236

228

232

238

258

Mexico

165

141

143

139

135

Jamaica

35

35

35

35

35

Venezuela

23

22

23

23

23

Others

25

22

23

24

25

           

T o t a l

11189

11138

11349

11474

11578

Source: Statistical Year Book 1996, Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC)

Table 2: World Production of Coconuts (Measured in Nut Equivalent) 1992-1996 (1000 nuts)

C o u n t r y

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

A. Asia and Pacific

42113805

43671709

45462211

48295884

47934625

F.S. Micronesia

40000

40000

40000

40000

40000

Fiji

195000

198000

196200

196040

196400

India

10080000

11241000

11975000

13300000

13968000

Indonesia

12376000

13030000

13245000

13521000

13595000

Malaysia

883000

800000

787000

748000

722000

Papua New Guinea

980000

1058000

840000

869000

960000

Philippines

11405000

11328000

11207000

12183000

11935000

Solomon Islands

262000

267000

272000

280000

287600

Sri Lanka

2296000

2164000

2622000

2755000

2546000

Thailand

1103000

1128000

1849000

1898000

1130000

Vanuatu

327000

317000

317000

317000

346000

Vietnam

1010000

1000000

978000

1054000

1065000

Western Samoa

122000

144000

159000

160000

160000

Palau

70000

70000

70000

70000

70000

Others

964805

886709

905011

904844

9136

B. Africa

2129145

2230674

2181004

2196295

2193000

C. America

3352218

3097368

3487416

3522878

3469929

 

 

 

 

 

 

T o t a l

47595168

48999750

51130631

54015056

53597554

Source: Statistical Yearbook 1966, Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC)

The average annual production of coconut during 1992-1996 was estimated to be 50 billion nuts, or 10 million metric tons of copra equivalents. (APCC 1996, Table 2).

Of the world production of coconut, more than 50 percent is processed into copra. While a small portion is converted into desiccated coconut and other edible kernel products, the rest is consumed as fresh nuts. The coconut palm also provides a series of by-products such as fibre, charcoal, handicrafts, vinegar, alcohol, sugar, furniture, roofing, fuel among others, which provide an additional source of income. Diversified local uses of the coconut palm number over 200. (See Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1 - Potential Products from the Coconut Palm

T H E C O C O N U T P A L M

TRUNK FRUIT INFLORESCENCE FROND

TIMBER CHARCOAL
FIBRE MATTING FUEL

BAVERAGE POWDER
FILLER DUST SUGAR

COOKING Fresh Dry
MILK Process Process

FOOD Peel CHARCOAL COIR

WHITE FLESH TESTA CARBON SOIL CONDITIONER

Aqueous Dry HARDBOARD
Process Process STOCK ROOFING

Ultra-fine Shred Gasification
Shredding Extraction

COCONUT PRODUCER GAS HEAT
Separation

EDIBLE CREAM
MEAL METHANOL or

dry OIL STOCK

DRY FOOD
PRODUCTS BLAND INDUSTRIAL OIL BRUSHES MATTRESSES TWINE

DAIRY MILK Process
SUBSTITUTE COCO CHEMICALS CONCRETE

AIRCRAFT SEATS
MILK YOGURT CHEESE ICE CREAM ETC
POWDER

Products are expressed in upper case and processes in lower-case letters.

Source: Proceedings of XXXIII COCOTECH Report 1991, APCC

Figure 2. Coconut Tree of Life - Its Parts and end

1.2 World Trade

A wide range of coconut products are internationally traded. There are more than 50 unprocessed, semiprocessed or processed coconut products entering the international markets in small and big quantities. Aside from copra and coconut oil, other exports which have a significant volume are desiccated coconut, copra meal, cocochemicals (fatty acids, fatty alcohol, methyl ether), shell charcoal and activated carbon, fibre products, coconut cream, milk, powder and nata de coco.

Although global production continues to increase, the growth rate of domestic use was faster therefore reducing the exportable supply of kernel products to about one third of the production. However there has been a sizeable increase in the export of non-traditional products in recent years. Both copra and coconut oil are traded internationally. In the past, the main export was copra.

In the 1960s over 1 million tons of copra was traded world-wide per annum. The volume declined to about 900000 tons a year in the 1970s further declining to an annual average of 350000 tons in the 1980s. This immense drop occurred when the producing countries established domestic copra processing plants in response to their desire to obtain more value-added products. In 1994 copra exports further dropped to 234874 tons with Papua New Guinea at 53767 tons followed by Indonesia, Vanuatu, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Malaysia with exports below 40000 tons each. The downtrend in copra exports is likely to continue.

In contrast, coconut oil exports increased marketedly. World trade in coconut oil during the period 1964-1968 averaged only 506000 tons a year. This rose by 75 percent during the next decade to reach an average volume of 888000 tons. The market further improved to an average of 1.2 million tons in 1980s and 1.5 million tons in 1990-1994. 1995 was a peak year for coconut oil when exports rose to 1.8 million tons. The world annual tonnage of coconut oil and copra exported for 1990-1994 averaged 1.6 million tons of oil with about 55 percent from the Philippines. Coconut oil is imported by 100 countries. The United States of America and Western European countries absorbed about 70 percent of total imports.

1.3 Primary Products

The main coconut product, copra (dried kernel), and its derivatives coconut oil, copra cake, plus desiccated coconut represent a major source of foreign exchange. For several small nations, especially in the Pacific, copra is the principal source of foreign exchange.

Coconut oil is the leading commercial product which contributes nearly 7 percent of the total supplies of vegetable oils in the world. The world's production of coconut oil reached 3.1 million tons in 1996.

Traditionally, the coconut is dried to produce copra and the oil is then obtained from the copra by expression or prepress solvent extraction methods. The residual product after the oil extraction coconut meal contains 18-25 percent protein, but is too fibrous for use in monogastric diets. Consequently its main use is ruminant feeding.

Desiccated coconut is the dried, white, particulate or shredded food product manufactured from freshly peeled coconut kernels. The world production of desiccated coconut is around 200,000 mt a year, the bulk of which is exported and is the second next most significant coconut product in global trade. In 1996 the total volume of desiccated coconut imported was 174,000 mt tons mainly purchased by Europe and the United States.

Coconut Processing

Though coconut can be processed into many products, the next part focuses on the processing of coconut oil, highlighting the dry-process of coconut oil extraction and two improved coconut oil extraction technologies which have proven to be adaptable at the village level, namely: a) The Hot-Oil Immersion Drying Technology; and b) The Ram Press Coconut Oil Extraction Technology. These technologies were selected as the most practical. Though their viability is site-specific, women and members of the farming family may run the technology.

Coconut Oil Processing - The Dry Process

Coconut oil is one of the main traditional products derived from the meat or kernel. It is a mixture of chemical compounds called glycerides containing fatty acids and glycerol. The different fatty acids present in coconut range from C6-C18 carbon atom chains.

Coconut oil processing methods or technologies are classified into two (2) major types: the dry and the wet processes. The oil extraction technology which starts with copra as the raw material is termed as the dry process, while the method that uses fresh coconuts as starting material is generally called the wet process.

Dry processing of meat for oil production involves the conversion of coconut meat into copra prior to expelling and refining. This process is however done off-farm, in an oil mill. From the farm, the copra goes through a series of traders. Storage in warehouses range from two weeks to two months. At the mill, the copra undergoes the following steps, (Figure 12):

1) Cleaning: Copra is transferred from the warehouse to a mill by a series of floor conveyors, rotor-lift and overhead conveyors. Copra is cleaned of metals, dirt and other foreign matter manually by picking or through the use of shaking or revolving screens, magnetic separators and other similar devices;

2) Crushing: Copra is broken into fine particle sizes of about 1/16" to 1/8" by high speed vertical hammer mills to facilitate oil extraction;

3) Cooking/Conditioning: The crushed copra that has about 5-6 percent moisture is passed through a steam-heated cooker. This brings the temperature of the copra to the conditioning temperature of about 104oC (220oF). At the conditioner, the copra is maintained at about 104-110oC (220-230oF) for about 30 minutes to insure uniform heat penetration before oil extraction. Moderately high temperature facilitates the expelling action. Oil is able to flow out more easily due to decrease in viscosity proteins and other substances present in the copra. Heating dries and shrinks these substances. Moisture content of copra is about 3 percent when it leaves the conditioner.

4) Oil extraction: In the expeller, the milled copra is subjected to high-pressure oil extraction, first by a vertical screw, and finally by a horizontal screw. To control the temperature during extraction, the main shaft is provided with water-cooling and cooled oil is sprayed over the screw cage bars. The temperature of the oil should be kept at about 93-102oC (200-215oF) to produce light coloured oil and effect good extraction.

5) Screening: The oil extracted in the expeller flows into the screening tanks to remove the entrained foots from the oil. The foots settle at the bottom and are continuously scooped-out by a series of chain-mounted scrapers which lift the foots to the screen on top of the tank. While travelling across the screen, oil is drained out of the foots. The filtered oil flows into a surge tank from where it is finally pumped to the coconut oil storage tank.

6) Filtration: The oil is passed through a plate and frame filter press to further remove the solids in the oil. Two filter presses are provided - one on duty while the other is being cleaned and dressed. Maximum filtering pressures reach about 60 psi. The filtered oil flows into a surge tank from where it is finally pumped to the coconut oil storage tank.

Coconut oil produced from good quality copra is clear, low in fatty acid and has good coconut aroma. However crude coconut oil from bad quality copra is dark; turbid; high in free fatty acids (FFA), phosphatides and gums; has an unpleasant odour. To render this oil edible, it has to undergo a refining process. Typically, 5 percent of the weight of the crude oil is lost in refining but the loss can be as high as 7.5 percent.

Figure 12: Dry Process of Coconut Oil Manufacture

suspended solids

Refining consists of neutralisation, bleaching and deodorising. Neutralisation reduces the FFA to improve the taste and appearance of the oil. It is done by reacting sodium hydroxide with free fatty acid to form an oil-insoluble precipitate called soapstock.

The amount of sodium hydroxide required to neutralise is 1.418 kg NaOH per 1 percent FFA content per ton of crude coconut oil. In actual practice, it is reported that 10 percent excess is added to ensure complete neutralisation. This amounts to 1.50 kg NaOH per ton of crude coconut oil per 1 percent FFA.

The soapstock is then removed once it settles out. This is either converted into either acid oil by treatment with sulphuric acid or into soap by complete saponification.

Phosphotides and gums are removed by physical refining in which the first stage involves treating the oil with phosphoric acid. These are then separated from the oil either by centrifugation or decantation.

Bleaching takes out most of the dissolved or colloidal pigments responsible for the colour of crude oil. Either activated carbon or bleaching earth such as bentonite (1 to 2 percent) or a combination of both are added to neutralised the oil under vacuum while heating it to 95-100oC. Afterwards, the bleaching agents are removed by passing the oil through a filter press.

Deodorisation removes volatile odours and flavours as well as peroxides that affect the stability of the oil. It is done by heating the oil to a temperature between 150-250oC and contacting with live steam under vacuum conditions (29 psig pressure).

Coconut Oil Extraction: The Hot Oil Drying Technology (HOID)

The Hot Oil Immersion Drying (HOID) technology or the `fry-dry' process is a method of extracting coconut oil from fresh coconut meat (wet process). The process involves grating and then drying the freshly cut coconut kernel by immersing it in hot oil. The dried residue is subsequently removed from the hot oil, drained and passed through a screw press where the oil is extracted under pressure leaving a dry cake. (See Figure 13).

Figure 13. Process Flow of the Hot-Oil Drying Technology (HOID) of Extracting Coconut Oil

to be sold

HOID or `fry-dry' process is indigenous to West and North Sumatra, North Slaws in Indonesia and is currently practised all over the country. It was reported that a few areas in the Philippines have used the technology but not many are fully knowledgeable of its application. It is believed that there are good prospects and a wider scope for the introduction and application of the HOID technology not only in other parts of Indonesia but also in many areas in Asia and the Pacific, especially in medium and large scale operations.

The HOID technology is an alternative method of producing coconut oil. The oil is generally of a better quality and preferred by certain segments of the population, especially in Indonesia, because of its distinctive coconut flavour. The HOID oil can be used directly as cooking oil, without chemical refining. In certain parts of Indonesia, HOID oil is sold at prices higher than that of refined palm oil.

The method of HOID oil production involves the following steps:

1) The fresh coconut meat is delivered to the processing plant where it is inspected, washed and cut into pieces with a hammer mill or a grater.

2) The grated kernel is then fried in the pan of hot coconut oil at approximately 120oC for 20-45 minutes depending on the oil temperature and ratio of fresh meat to coconut oil used. Care must be exercised not to add too much meat at once during the frying because the immersion of the cut coconut kernel results in a rapid evolution of steam which can result in oil spillage. Stirring of the grated coconut is occasionally done during the frying. The drying process is completed when there is no more steam produced, the coconut meat becomes yellowish to brown and the temperature of the coconut oil in the pan increases;

3) The fried particles are then taken out of the oil by means of perforated spoon affixed to the end of a long wooden handle. The meat is then dumped in a filter box and the oil is allowed to drain through a meshed plate at the base of the container.

4) The drained, cooked brown coconut particles, rich in coconut oil, are then fed to the hopper whence it is fed to the screw press. The expelled oil is passed through a mesh plate and settled in a tank before it is pumped or poured into the main settling tank.

5) The oil is then clarified by settling the oil in the tank. Sometimes a filter press is used. Once clarified, the oil can be sold directly in the market as cooking oil without further chemical refining.

The main equipment used in a small HOID processing plant are as follows: a) hammer mill or grater - this is used to cut the fresh coconut kernels. In some areas in Indonesia, the kernel is grated; b) drying pans-either circular or rectangular in shape. These pans are equipped with wooden stirrers and spoons for removing out the dried meat manually, c) furnace - is used to heat the pans by burning the wood, coconut shell or husk in the combustion chamber; d) screw press - this is used to extract oil from cooked, brown coconut meat; e) filter press or setting tank; and f) a draining tank and other handling equipment such as scooper, tray, metal and rattan baskets.

The viability of the process is most sensitive to the price of the raw material, price of oil and the oil yield. Thus, it is important that the plant must be designed and operated to minimise oil losses and maximise returns from efficient operation of the whole system. The viability of the process is also dependent on the site.

Ram Press Coconut Oil Extraction

Ram press coconut oil extraction is a method of expelling oil from dried coconut either in the form of dried fresh coconut gratings, copra or dried residue from aqueous coconut processes.

The ram press also called the Bielenberg press was developed by the Appropriate Technology International, a Washington based NGO, in 1985 through its Village Oil Press Project in Tanzania. It is manually operated, low-cost piece of equipment which was originally designed to be used by smallholder farmers to process soft-shelled sunflower seed to obtain scarce cooking oil. The original design of the Ram Press was arduous to use and took two men to operate.

Recently, the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) of the UK has carried out some work on improving small scale coconut oil extraction methods using the participatory approach, particularly involving women in the rural areas in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. One of the design advancements of the Ram Press is a version that is smaller and easily operated by a woman.

The newly designed Ram Press has a long, pivoted lever which moves a piston backwards and forwards inside a cylindrical cage constructed from metal bars spaced to allow the passage of oil. At the end of the piston's stroke an entry port from the feed hopper is opened so that the oilseed or the squeezed coconut gratings (called chicha in Tanzania) can enter the cage. When the piston is moved forward, the entry port is closed and the chicha is compressed in the cage. (See Figure 14, 15 and 16).

Figure 14: Villager Using the Traditional Coconut Grater in Tanzania VILLAGER USING THE TRADITIONAL COCONUT GRATER IN TANZANIA

Figure 15: Rotary Coconut Grater ROTARY COCONUT GRATER

Figure 16: Ram Press Operated by Women in Zanzibar RAM PRESS OPERATED BY WOMEN IN ZANZIBAR

The compressed chichi is pushed through a circular gap at the end of the cage. The width of this gap, which can be varied using an adjustable choke, controls the operating pressure of the press. The lever mechanism of the press is such that it can operate pressures greater than those obtained in most manually-operated presses, and as high as those in small-scale expellers. While the Ram Press has a low seed throughput, it has the advantage of continuous operation.

Laboratory and field trials conducted by the NRI in Tanzania indicated that the Ram Press was suitable for pressing sundried squeezed coconut gratings or chicha. The oil extraction efficiency achieved was 60-70 percent. Although more arduous to use when processing chicha than when processing sunflower seed, women users in the villages of Zanzibar found that the ram press is easy to operate, especially when several changes in operation were made.

Desiccated Coconut

Desiccated coconut is the dehydrated, shredded white kernel of the coconut. It is produced from fully ripe coconut kernel under strict hygienic conditions for human consumption. It is used both in household foods and processed foods particularly in ready-to-cook mixes and in packaged and canned foods. In the bakery and confectionery industries desiccated coconut is a preferred product. Nutritionally desiccated coconut is not different from fresh coconut kernel. It retains all the characteristic features of the wet kernel including the original nutrients. Good desiccated coconut is crisp, snow white in colour with a sweet, pleasant and fresh taste of the wet kernel.

The production of desiccated coconut involves dehiscing of fully matured coconut. This involves detailing without breaking the kernel, removing the brown test and slicing the pared kernel into two halves to release the nut water. Next comes washing and sterilising the kernel pieces either by passing them through boiling water or subjecting the pieces to live steam. Stabilising the sterilised kernel pieces is done by immersion in a solution of sulphur dioxide. Finally the kernel is disintegrated or shredded into standard or fancy cuts. The final stage the kernel is dried, cooled, graded and packaged in moisture and odour proof containers.

In the desiccating process the wet kernel is shredded into nine different cuts. These cuts are grouped under three broad categories such as granular cuts, shred cuts and speciality cuts. The cuts are further processed at the destinations to satisfy specified end use requirements. The more common products so produced are (1) sweetened coconut (2) toasted coconut (3) coloured coconut and (4) creamed coconut. The proximate composition of selected types of desiccated coconut is given in Table 7.

Table 7: Proximate Composition (in percent) of Selected Types of Desiccated Coconut

Source: Franklin Baker (1971)

1.4 Secondary and derived product

In major coconut producing countries, several products and by-products are processed for export. They are coconut fibre: coir and coir products, mats, mattings, brushes, brooms, rubberized coir mattresses; shell products: charcoal, activated carbon; coconut-based food products: coconut milk, cream, nata de coco, coconut jam, young tender coconut. For coconut-based oleochemicals including fatty alcohol, fatty acids, methyl esters, tertiry amines, alkanolamides and glycerine there has been a growing demand in the world market

Today, technologies exist for many other value-added products from the coconut tree, its fruit as well as the wastes generated. These technologies are not centred in any one country but are scattered across the major coconut growing regions.

Coconut food processing technologies that are adaptable by individuals or groups of coconut farmers will be featured here. These coconut-based technologies require very simple locally available materials, and their operation is quite easy to follow. The coconut-based products that are derived from these technologies may be consumed by the farming family or sold in the domestic market. Thus, adding value to the coconut, and enabling the farming family to earn additional income. These technologies include a) Coconut Vinegar Making; b) Moulded Coconut Sugar; c) Coconut Jam; and d) Nata de coco; e) Soap making; f) Coconut Shell Charcoal Making; and g) Coconut Fibre Products.

Coconut Water-Vinegar

Coconut water vinegar is a natural product resulting from the alcoholic and acetos fermentation of sugar-enriched coconut water. It contains 3-4 percent acetic acid and is used as an indispensable commodity in any household.

Vinegar derived from fermenting coconut water can be produced either on a commercial scale or as a village cottage industry. As a non-synthetic food product, coco water vinegar is widely preferred as table seasoning, or as ingredient in food processing.

Cocoa water vinegar is processed by allowing filtered coconut water, mixed with other substances, to undergo fermentation and acetification at ambient temperature (28-32oC). The first step of the process is done by straining the coconut water through filter cloth. The sugar content of coco water is then adjusted to 15 degrees Brix (162 grams per liter) by adding refined sugar into it. The mixture is pasteurised by heating to boiling point. The boiled mixture is then cooled and inoculated with the active dry yeast at one-half gram per litre. The mixture is then allowed to undergo alcoholic fermentation for five to seven days. After the fermentation process, alcoholic coconut water is then transferred to another container with a faucet at its bottom. Mother vinegar or a starter culture is then added to about 1/4 its volume. The container is only filled up to 3/4 its capacity to provide headspace for effective acetic acid fermentation. The mixture is then stirred thoroughly, covered with clean cloth and allowed to undergo acetification for seven days.

The coco water vinegar is harvested by opening the faucet or by siphoning. The amount of vinegar harvested is equivalent to the amount of alcoholic coconut water added. The remaining vinegar will then serve as the starter for the next batch of alcoholic coconut water acidification. Since the process involves fermentation care must be taken to ensure that all fermentation containers are either made of plastic or stainless steel.

The process produces a natural product, which is highly acceptable, based on flavour, aroma and general acceptability. It contains 4.0 percent acetic acid, which conforms to the Food and Drug Administration requirements.

The technology is simple, economic and an accelerated method of coconut water vinegar production. It can be easily adopted in the rural areas since no sophisticated equipment is needed and very little capital investment is required.

The utilisation of coconut water which is considered a waste material in copra making or in desiccated coconut factories will certainly give an added income to the rural families in the coconut farming communities. It will provide productive use of the time and employment to the women in the coconut countryside.

Toddy Vinegar

When the coconut inflorescence is tapped, a very sweet juice or sap exudes from it. This is called coconut toddy in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India and other countries. The coconut toddy contains as high as 16 percent sucrose and can be had throughout the year.

A characteristic of coconut sap is its spontaneous and rapid fermentation. No yeast is needed since there is a ready source of very active "wild" yeast in the environment. The coconut sap starts alcoholic fermentation right away and becomes completely fermented within a day.

Fresh coconut toddy can be used as a beverage. However, it becomes unpalatable if allowed to ferment for more than 24 hours. After this period, acetic fermentation converts the alcohol into vinegar. In the traditional method of vinegar production, toddy is allowed to ferment in large acetifying vats for 10 to 14 weeks. When the vinegar reaches the maximum strength of about 4 to 7 percent acetic acid, the clear supernatant liquid or vinegar is then transferred to closed casks for ageing up to six months. The aged vinegar is then bottled for household or commercial purposes.

Alcoholic Beverages from Coconut Sap

Sweet toddy or fresh sap undergoes spontaneous fermentation producing a common alcoholic drink `fermented toddy'. The toddy becomes stale when the fermentation exceeds 24 hours. Normally, the toddy is consumed within 12 hours after the sap is collected. The nutritional value of toddy for thiamine and riboflavin resides mainly in the yeast-free fluid portion. Toddy also contains small amounts of protein, fat and other nutrients.

Fermented toddy on distillation yields a strong alcoholic drink known as arrack or lambanog. (See Figure 17). The range of recovery is 15-18 per cent of the original toddy. Normally, sweet toddy is allowed to undergo fermentation in loosely covered wooden or plastic container for 3-5 days before it is distilled. Reports revealed that analysed, samples of arrack collected from several location had average value of total soluble solids of (oBrix) 13.52, a pH of 3.92 and alcohol content of 42.65 (Vol. percent).

Figure 17: Arrack and Lambanog ARRACK AND LAMBANOG

Home-Made Moulded Coconut Sugar

Moulded coconut sugar is edible sugar made from fresh coconut sap. Produced by small-scale cottage industries, moulded coconut sugar is used for edible purposes essentially as a sweetening agent in many traditional food preparations and food products especially in Indonesia. The concentration of total sugars in moulded coconut sugar is 80 percent total soluble solids. (See Figure 18).

Figure 18: Moulded coconut sugar MOULDED COCONUT SUGAR

The process of producing moulded coconut sugar starts from tapping or collection of coconut sap. But before this is done, the collection vessels are first washed with clean water, followed with hot water and then dried. Alternatively, the clean vessels are smoked using firewood for 10-15 minutes. The treatments are used to reduce microbial loads of vessels.

To prevent spoilage of sap during tapping, the collection vessels are added with tablespoon in the form of paste, a few pieces of mangosteen bark or other natural preservatives such as special varieties of leaves. Once treated, the collection vessels are then ready to be used for tapping the coconut sap.

Collection of coconut sap from the palm is done twice a day at 6 to 7 in the morning and at 4 to 5 in the evening. Although it is not a common practice by home processors, it is desired that the collected sap be tested for acidity using a pH indicator paper. This is because the fermented or spoiled coconut palm sap is no longer suitable for brown sugar manufacture.

The collected coconut sap is then filtered through a muslin cloth to remove insects, ants and other contamination. It is then transferred into a cooking vessel.

The next step involves evaporation of water from the sap to increase the concentration of the sap. Thus, the filtered sap is boiled in a cooking vessel at a temperature of 100-110oC for 3 hours. The material will then turn into a thick liquid. During boiling, foam will be formed. This should be discarded from the vessel. A few drops of cooking oil or grated coconut are added to the mash to prevent excessive foam formation.

The mash is heated for another one hour with occasional stirring. To avoid caramelisation of sugars, heating should be done slowly. When the mash has become very thick and suitable for moulding, the cooking vessel is lifted from the stove and cooled to 60oC. The cooled mash is then poured into clean halves coconut shell or bamboo vessels for cooling and setting.

Home-Made Coconut Jam

Referred to as coconut caramel spread (siamu popo) by some South Pacific countries, especially in Samoa, coco jam is actually coconut milk cooked in brown sugar and glucose. Coco jam is the `butter' in many coconut producing countries and it is commonly taken as a spread, biscuit sandwich, pancake syrup, sponge cake filling, doughnut spread, ice cream topping, fruit dessert topping and as marinade syrup for meat. (See Figure 19). The concentration of total sugars in coconut jam is 75-76 percent total soluble solids.

Figure 19: Coconut caramel spread (siamu popo) COCONUT CARAMEL SPREAD (SIAMU POPO)

To produce good quality coconut caramel spread, one starts with choosing 100 fully matured coconuts which are devoid of cracks or any damage. The selected nuts are dehusked, cut into halves and grated immediately. Freshly grated coconut meat has the characteristic coconut smell and must not have any off odour. It is also important that all containers used are thoroughly clean and the working place completely sanitary.

Once the grated coconut is ready, (33.3 kg) coconut milk may then be extracted by adding water in the proportion of 1 part grated coconut to 0.5 part water (if pressing to be done manually). However, no water is needed if pressing is done mechanically.

Strain or filter the coconut milk through cheesecloth to remove any solid particle or foreign matter from the milk. Weigh the coconut milk (12 kg) and determine the amount of brown sugar (2.13 kg) and glucose (1.06 kg) needed. Mix the sugar the glucose with one-half of the total volume of the coconut milk and boil slowly to dissolve the brown sugar and the glucose. Stir continuously for about 10 minutes and maintain the cooking temperature at about 78-80 degrees C.

Add the remaining half of the coconut milk extract when almost thick and boil for another 35 minutes until the temperature reaches to 100-102 degrees C. Stir the mixture frequently or almost continuously to prevent burning continue to boil until done. The end point is reached when a drop of the mixture forms a soft ball in cold water. Strain the cooked mixture through a clean wire mesh and pack while hot. Packing is best done using clean and sterilised bottles for longer shelf life. Cool the bottles, label and seal.

Nata-de-Coco Production

Nata de Coco is a white, gelatinous food product obtained from the action of micro- organism Acetobacter xylinum on coconut water or coconut milk mixed with water, sugar and acetic acid. Quality nata is smooth, clear and chewy. It is sweetened by boiling it in sugar-water solution.

Nata de Coco is popular primarily for its food uses. It can be sweetened as desserts or candies. It is an excellent ingredient for sweet fruit salads, pickles, fruit cocktails, drinks, ice cream, sherbets and other recipes. Nata de coco also has some industrial uses.

The process flow in the production of nata de coco is:

1. Preparation of ingredients - Measure all ingredients in the formulation, properly from the 28 litres of tap water, get approximately 3 litres for dissolving sugar and 2 litres for extracting the coconut milk from the freshly grated coconut meat.

2. Milk extraction: Place the coconut meat in the basin and add half of the water set aside for extraction. Mix thoroughly and squeeze grated meat in water. Filter through a piece of cheesecloth. Repeat extraction using the remaining water and filter. Add second extract to the first.

3. Filtration of dissolved sugar: Filter dissolved sugar to remove impurities that might have entered accidentally into the sugar in stock.

4. Mixing: To the remaining 23 litres of water, add the extracted coconut milk, dissolved sugar, glacial acetic acid and mother liquor. Stir thoroughly with a wooden ladle to get a homogenous mixture. Set aside a small portion as mother liquor for the next mixing.

5. Filling: Distribute the rest of the mixture into nata moulders at a level of approximately 3 centimetres high.

6. Fermentation: Arrange the nata moulders in the nata fermentation room. Cover with newspapers or similar materials. To maximise space, nata moulders can be placed one on top of the other to obtain several layers. Fermentation is completed after 8-10 days, depending on environmental conditions. Optimum temperature for nata production is between 23-32oC.

7. Harvesting: Harvest by separating nata from the spent liquor.

8. Scraping: Clean nata by scraping the cream and the thin, white layer at the bottom part using a blunt piece of plastic or bamboo.

9. Soaking: Place clean nata in a plastic container and keep immersed in water.

10. Syrup of Nata de Coco: To cook nata de coco in syrup, cut clean nata into cubes approximately 1 cm3 or according to the customer specifications. Soak the nata for one or more days in several changes of water to remove the sour taste and smell. Drain the nata and boil in water for 5 to 10 minutes. Check if acid is totally removed.

Add sugar equal to the weight of drained nata. Mix thoroughly and set aside overnight. The next day, stir the mixture to disperse any undissolved sugar. Add a small amount of water. Heat the mixture to boiling point, stirring occasionally. Add flavouring, if desired. Set aside overnight and repeat the heating process until the nata is fully penetrated with sugar as evidenced by the clear and crystalline appearance of the sweetened nata.

Pack the sweetened nata 2/3 full into sterilised preserving jars. Add syrup leaving a 1/4 inch air space. Cover jar immediately with PVC lined caps. Sterilised bottled nata by immersing in boiling water for 30 minutes.

Remove bottled nata and tighten the caps. Cool the jars in inverted position to further sterilise the caps and check for leakage. Wash cooled jars and wipe them thoroughly, place plastic seal and label. Store in cool dry place.

Soap Making

Mixing oil with a solution of caustic soda in water makes soap. When the caustic soda is mixed with oil, a chemical reaction occurs and all the component fatty acids of the oil are changed into sodium salts, known familiarly as "soap".

The oil, caustic soda and water used to make the soap have to be mixed together in correct proportions to ensure that the finished soap contains no excess alkaline which would cause a burning reaction on the skin. The oils used for soap making fall into two categories. In the first category are oils that are obtained from the kernels of different types of palms. The most commonly known oils in this category are coconut oil and palm kernel oil. They are known are "lauric oils" because lauric acid is the major fatty acid that they contain. These fats make hard soap which produces fast foaming lather.

To make soap by the cold process follow the following steps. Weigh one kilo of NaOH and two kilos of water, and pour the NaOH flakes in water and stir constantly until dissolved. Avoid inhaling the vapour over the solution as the mixture will become very hot and. Set aside for cooling to a temperature of about 96oF.

Prepare six kilos of coconut oil and slowly pour this into the caustic soda solution, while constantly stirring the mixture in one direction. The mixture is kept stirred until it thickens to a desired consistency, approximately after 40 minutes to 1.75 hours. Add any desired colour or essence. Stir and immediately pour into moulders and leave for about 24 hours for saponification.

Cut into desired sizes and dry or age for at least one week to complete the chemical reaction. Wrap if required and use the soap only after one week of ageing.

Coconut Shell Charcoal Making

Charcoal making is based on the principle that coconut shell, wood and other carbonaceous materials can be converted into charcoal by incomplete burning. Limiting the amount of air used during the burning process produces incomplete burning. Thus, the quantity and quality of charcoal depend largely on how well the amount of air is regulated in the charcoal chamber.

Charcoal making started with simple methods such as those employed in the backyard to make charcoal for household use. As demand increased, more sophisticated methods were developed to produce charcoal in commercial scale. Today, small backyard and commercial kilns are being used.

The two types of kiln used in charcoal making are the primitive or modified pit and the drum.

Primitive or modified pit - A simple pit is dug in the ground just enough to accommodate the desired number of coconut shells to be made into charcoal. The process mainly involves simple drying of coconut shells arranged in the hole and burned. Some farmers cover the pit from time to time while the shells burn. To control the fire, sprinkle the flame with enough water so as to put the fire totally out. The charcoal produced out of the modified pit method is suitable only for household use due to its poor quality.

-Drum - A 55-gal drum open on one end, and punched with four holes at the bottom is used in this method. This is then raised from the ground by two pipes to allow air entry through the holes. As a starter, remove the cover from the drum, place and burn a shovel full of shells on it. When already burning strongly, throw the shells into the drum. Throw in just enough fresh shells to put the flames but not the fire. Feed shells continuously at the top to assure that they will not burn fiercely. Slow burning gives the highest charcoal yield and the least ash. When burning reaches the top pile of shells, cover the drum with banana stalks or wet sack plastered with sand or mud. Never allow sand or mud to get inside the drum. The charcoal-filled drum should be left to cool overnight. It takes about for hours of shell burning to fill one drum. When properly attended to, one drum can yield 75-90 kg charcoal. Generally, it takes 3 tons of shells to make 1 ton of charcoal.

Uses of Coconut Shell Charcoal Activated Carbon:

Activated carbon from coconut shell charcoal is a manufactured carbonaceous material having a porous structure and a large internal surface area. It can absorb a wide variety of substances. Activated carbon particles are capable of attracting molecules to their internal surface area and are therefore called adsorbents.

The main characteristic of activated carbon is the extent of their internal pores. Among other products with internal pores used as adsorbents on a commercial scale are silica gel, zeolites, alumina and molecular sieves. The main difference between these adsorbents and activated carbon is the ability of activated carbon to adsorb an extremely wide spectrum of adsorbates. This is because activated carbon has different types and/or sizes of pores.

Generally, coconut shell charcoal-based activated carbon is microporous and depending on the size of the pores predominant, it will exhibit affinities for molecules of different sizes. Activated carbon is used for a wide array of purposes which include water, air and food purification; solvent recovery, pharmaceutical industry and catalyst support. The examples of use of coconut shell charcoal activated carbon in air purification are their uses in gas masks, cooker hoods and other filters.

Other uses of coconut shells

Coconut shell is exploited in small-scale industries, e.g. manufacture of novelties. It has been in demand when ground into a "flour" for mosquito coils (insect repellent) and as filler for articles made of synthetic resin-plastics. With the present shortage of fuels, the shell itself and the charcoal made from it are gradually taking the place of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for home cooking.

Coconut Fibre Products

Coconut husk is the raw material for the coir industry. (See Figure 20A). The coir fibre is extracted either by natural retting (microbiological process) or mechanical means.

Figure 20a: Mechanical extraction of the coconut husk MECHANICAL EXTRACTION OF THE COCONUT HUSK

Roughly 10 percent of the global annual production of coconut husks is used to extract coir fibre resulting in 480,000 M.T. of coir approximately. An average of 100,000 tons of this total production (21 percent) enters into the world trade. Majority of exports take the form of fibre that is then processed in consuming countries. Coir product exports take the form mainly of mats, matting, brushes and a very small quantity of needled felt and rubberised coir.

Extraction Process of Coconut Fibre

There are two distinct varieties of coir fibre, white fibre and brown fibre. The fibre extracted from green coconut husk by the natural retting process is known as "white fibre" whereas fibre extracted mechanically from dry coconut husk is "brown fibre".

Retting of coconut husk for the production of white fibre is biological process which softens the husks paving way for easy extraction of fibre manually by beating with wooden mallets. (See Figure 21). It is normally done in the saline back waters that are bestowed with a gentle natural tidal action. There are three process of retting: Net retting, Pit retting and Stake retting. In the areas where very good quality fibre is produced, Net retting is practised. In this process, the husks are filled inside a net made out of coir yarn and toyed to the retting field. The bundles are then weighed down using mud. Stake retting is practised where there is a heavy current and fear of husks being washed off. In this method, husks are filled in the enclosures made out of bamboo stakes and covered with mud. In Pit retting, the bottom of the pits are covered with mud and sides with plated coconut leaves or coir yarn nets. The entire pit or nets are filled with fully matured green husk. The bundles are piled appropriately in such a manner and they are not disrupted and left for a period varying from 4-12 months. After about 4 weeks of soaking the water gets warm up, becomes cloudy and yellowish white covering is formed on the surface. Exhale of gas bubbles is observed with the smell of hydrogen sulphide which subsides after a period of approximately 4 months. The retted husks are taken out from the soaking pits and beaten manually by wooden mallets to separate the fibre from the embedded pith. The extracted fibre is cleaned properly and dried under shade for further processing. (See Figure 22). The fibre is graded in accordance with its colour, length of fibre and other factors. Women of coconut farming families are greatly involved in these activities.

Figure 21: Manual extraction of coco fibre by beating with wooden malletsk MANUAL EXTRACTION OF COCO FIBRE BY BEATING WITH WOODEN MALLETSK

Figure 22: Flow Chart of Processing in the Production of Coir

Coconut Palm

Plucking of Coconut

Dehusking

Green Husks Dry Husk

Natural Retting Crushing

Manual Extraction Soaking
of White Fibre
Mechanical Extraction
Spinning of Different
Types of Yarn/Rope Decortation Defibering

Decorticated Bristle Mattress
Weaving Coir Mats, Fibre Fibre Fibre
Mattings, Carpets, Ropes

Curled Coir Curled Coir
Rubberised Coir
Needled Felt

1.5 Requirements for Export and Quality Assurance

Export of coconut oil and copra are governed by the standards of the National Institute of Oilseed Production (NIOP), the Federation of Oilseed, Fats and Oils (FOSFA) and the Asean Vegetable Oil Club (AVOC). For aqueous coconut products, the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) formulated a set of standards which its member countries have accepted as reference material. Trade in other products are conducted on terms mutually agreed by buyer and seller. Export of copra and copra meal to EU is governed by the regulations formulated in 1991 which set the limit for aflatoxin.

Copra Classification Standards

The oil content, the colour and appearance, and the moisture content are variable. These characteristics are demonstrated in the grades and standards used for copra.

In the Philippines there are four recognised classes of copra designated A, B, C and D. The classification is based on the method of drying. Under each class are seven grades, from 1 to 7, based on moisture content. The classes are given in Table 3 and the grades in Table 4. These tables show the 3 types of copra drying in existence: sun drying, smoked tapahan drying and hot air drying. It is also indicates among the grades, as high as 22 percent moisture content (Corriente) is traded. The best grade copra contains no more than 6 percent moisture.

Table 3: Quality Standard for Copra in the Philippines: Classes of Copra
(Based on Method of Drying and Appearance)

Class

Name/Designation

Requirement (Appearance)

A.

Hot air, kiln or mechanically dried

Clean, whitish or pale; free of smoke, moulds and dirt

B.

Sun dried

Dull white; low in dirt, mould and decay; free of smoke

C.

Smoked or tapahan

Tinged with soot; low in mould, dirt a decay; not unduly charred or burned

D.

Mixed

Low in mould, dirt, soot and decay

It must be noted however, that trading of copra is essentially based on moisture content. In the Philippines where roughly 90-95 percent of total production is sold to the village trader, copra with 20-25 percent moisture content are bought at a discounted price. This is referred to as the "pasa system" of copra buying where a discount on the copra price is based on moisture. Thus, copra is classified according to its moisture content even at the first point of sale. (See Table 4). Since moisture meters are not readily available in the villages, moisture content determination is done visually or by cracking or splitting the copra by hand and feeling. Experienced and highly skilled copra buyers do this.

Table 4: Grades of Copra Used in the Philippines (Based on Moisture Content)

Grade

Name/Designation

Moisture Content

Requirements

1

Resecada Bodega

6.0 percent

Free from noticeable mixture of copra from unripened nuts

2

Resecada

7.5 percent

Free from noticeable mixture of foreign materials

3

Semi-Resecada

9.0 percent

Free from noticeable mixture of foreign matter

4

Buen Corriente Mejorado

12.0 percent

Reasonably free of vermin

5

Buen Corriente

15.0 percent

Reasonably free of weevils and other insects

6

Corriente Mejorado

20.0 percent

No objectionable odour or putrefaction

7

Corriente

22.0 percent

No objectionable odour or putrefaction

In India standard contract terms for milling copra were specified in as early as 1949. Since then, these form the basis of transactions in the domestic market. The terms apply to sundried and smoke dried copra, but the smoked copra cannot be tendered against a contract for sundried copra. The following are the details of contract terms for milling copra.

Table 5. Contract Terms for Trading Copra in India
Based on Moisture Content and Appearance

1. Moisture

Basis 6 percent

- with mutual allowance

 

Below 6 to 5 percent

-allowance to seller equal to 1.5 times less moisture

 

Below 5 percent

-allowance to seller at the rate of 1.25 percent for every 1 percent less of moisture

 

Over 6 to 8 percent

-rebate to buyer equal to 1.25 times the excess

 

Over 10 percent

-rejection at buyer's option

2. Dirt and Foreign Matter

Basis 0.5 percent

- with mutual allowance

 

Below 0.5 percent

- proportionate allowance to seller

 

Over 0.5 to 2.0 percent

- rebate to buyer equal to 1.25 times the excess

 

Over 2.0 percent

- rejection at buyer's option

3. Mouldy

5 percent free

 

In Papua New Guinea (PNG), copra intended for export is classified into the following grades (See Table 6.).

Table 6: Copra Classification in Papua New Guinea

Grade

General Appearance

A. (Hot-Air Dried Copra)

Clean; of good colour; free from smoke, excess mould or insect infestation, charred pieces or foreign matter; free from an unreasonable admixture of copra from germinated nuts; not exceeding 6 percent moisture content (MC) ; not exceeding 3 percent free fatty acid (FFA) content.

C. (Smoke Dried Copra)

Clean and of uniform colour, not burned or tarry; free from excess mould or insect infestation, charred pieces or foreign matter; free from an unreasonable admixture of copra from germinated nuts; not exceeding 6 percent MC; not exceeding 3 percent FFA.

D. (Mixed Copra)

Copra of exportable quality which cannot be reconditioned to a higher grade; not exceeding 7 percent MC and not exceeding 4 percent FFA.

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