With no coconut industry in Australia, any involvement in coconut R&D over the past 25 years by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the University of Queensland (UQ) has been driven by the mission to help developing countries, particularly those in the Asia Pacific region.
With so much at stake, the environment is now ripe for educated, discerning investors and growers. Investing in a coconut agritech project offers the opportunity to access a burgeoning market with declining supply. Moreover, modern agricultural advances make coconut development both safer and more profitable than ever before. This is where Australian research could play a crucial role on a global front.
KokoNiu aims to capitalise on this to be the first to commercially market coconut tissue culture and the somatic embryogenesis technology globally. Owning this space opens the door to huge commercial opportunities. One of the top priorities for KokoNiu will be in developing high quality coconut varieties with unique traits bearing large quantities of nuts. With this advancement in research, the potential to mass-produce the premium ‘elite’ coconut tree that bear more coconuts, more quickly becomes a reality. The technology could also enable elite trees to be more resilient to local pests and disease.
KokoNiu is designing a Pilot Manufacturing Plant to prove the technology and then build a large scale CTC Laboratory to produce these elite coconut plantlets on an industrial scale.
The demand growth of coconut products comes at a time when producers are facing several agro-economic and market challenges including the declining productivity of ageing coconut trees, many of which are long past their productive age.
Currently, more than 50% of coconut trees are over 60 years and considered unproductive. The global average yield has dropped to 29 nuts per tree vs the potential ten-fold increase to 200+ nuts/tree/year from the best available hybrids. The International Coconut Community (ICC) urges an immediate replanting of over 700 million senile trees to increase the regions productivity.