Friday, February 26, 2010

Want a coconut?

Ever wondered how coconuts are picked off those high trees? Here is an interesting video on how they pick coconuts in India. A report by the times says the country grows 16 billion of them a year, according to the country’s Coconut Development Board. However, a falling birthrate and rising school attendance in Kerala, the most prodigious of the coconut-producing states, has led to a lack of small boys willing to shimmy up the towering palm trees on which the crop grows. Young men, meanwhile, are opting for safer, less arduous and more prestigious professions.

So pressing is the problem that the ministry of industry in Kerala is offering a cash prize of one million rupees (£12,500) — more than a professional coconut harvester can earn in a decade — to whoever invents the first machine capable of doing the job.

Such is the scarcity of skilled harvesters that those left in the trade are enjoying a boom in business. Pay rates have tripled, according to T. Balakrishnan, the principal secretary for industries in Kerala. That means a harvester can earn about 300 rupees (£3.75) a day.

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