Goa is one of the states which has the largest number of coconut trees and coconut-based products. Coconut is the oldest crop that is grown in India and it is believed that the cultivation of coconut trees is the most important after rice in Goa. Coconut production largely enhances the economy and is grown extensively in Goa. They are grown widely as major crops for their sap, which is the famous drink called ‘Feni’ are produced exclusively in Goa.
Since the dawn of human civilization coconut palm trees are been in existence. Coconut is an ancient word derived from the term “cocoanut” in the 16th Century Portuguese. It is derived from the Spanish word, where coco means “Skull” or “Head”, from which the three scoops on the coconut resemble some facial features. India is the third-largest in producing coconut in the world. Goa is the only state which produces the sweetest coconuts in the world with its local breeds of Benaulim, Calangute, and Nadora.
The coconut tree is known for its versatility, where one can find its uses for all the parts including leaves, wood, and fruits are widely used. Nothing of a coconut tree ever goes to waste. The copra is an essential source of cooking oil, cosmetics, industrial products, delicious eatables, and also makes our curries tastier. Husks are used in the manufacturing of several handicrafts like mats, ropes, etc. Fishing nets, which are the essential source of livelihood for many people in Goa are manufactured using the coir. The tender coconut has very refreshing water within its shell which is highly nutritious and delightful. The fronds of the coconut tree are used in making baskets and thatching for roofs. It has cultural and religious significance in many societies.
In Hindu tradition, Coconut plays the main role as it is an important element of rituals. In Sanskrit, it is known as “Kalpa vriksha”, which provides all the requirements of life. Coconuts are offered during worship and it is a belief that while beginning any new work or activity these coconuts are broken to ensure the blessings of the gods and successful completion of the works.
Classification of coconut trees are made into two types generally, that is tall and dwarf trees. The tree has large palm leaves and normally grows about 10 to 15m tall. All older coconut plantations are cultivated with tall varieties. Some tall varieties of coconut trees may attain the height of 20 to 30m and the leaf stalks are around 1 to 1.5m long. The coconut palm is highly tolerant and thrives on sandy soil. Abundant sunlight and regular rainfall favor the tree.