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How to add value to coconut

By Alex Wachira

Coconuts have a rough hard fibrous outer shell when fully mature and contain a white flesh called kernel and water inside locally known as “madafu” when younger.

Value addition of coconuts earns farmers more money than the regular common sale of mature coconuts and green coconuts as “madafu”.

Farmers.co.ke at the recently concluded Nairobi show 2019 spoke to Hamisi Mwakumanya from Pwani Classic Trading and Amor Coco Kenya Limited on how they add value to coconuts.

Hamisi Mwakumanya who adds value to coconut by making beauty products. Photo: Alex Wachira Standard

Products obtained from mature coconuts value addition include coconut oil, milk and cream, flour, vinegar, alcohol, wine, coco syrup, soap and beauty cosmetic products.

Beauty products made from coconut help consumers get rid of pimples, black spots, acne, burns, fungal and bacterial infections as they keep the skin smooth and healthy.

Amor Coco processes coconut into the high-fat desiccated coconut, extra virgin coconut oil and coconut flour.

Desiccated coconut is made from mature coconuts harvested at the right time for the best flavor.

The coconut is grated then dried to the perfect moisture content to ensure long shelf life, best flavor and mouthfeel.

A farmer can also get fresh coconut milk by soaking desiccated coconut in hot water for some time.

Desiccated coconut made from the coconut by Amor Coco Kenya Limited. Photo: Alex Wachira Standard

Desiccated coconut is used as an ingredient or as a coating for baked goods, smoothies, cookies, cakes or toppings for salads and puddings.

Local dishes made include “mbaazi za nazi”, “kuku paka”, “wali wa nazi” and “maharagwe”.

Coconut flour is made by drying coconut meat and grounding it into powder.

The flour is usually light and a farmer can use it to bake cakes, muffins, pancakes, cookies, bread, pizza base, chapati and ice cream among other dishes.

Coconut flour made by crushing dried coconut kernel. Photo: Alex Wachira Standard

Extra virgin coconut oil is extracted from the kernel of mature coconuts which is pressed without altering its purity.

The oil is pure white in colour with a light coconut taste and aroma and is not usually refined.

Coconut Oil extracted from pressing mature coconut kernel or flesh. Photo: Alex Wachira Standard.

The oil contains a high amount of lauric acid which is found in mother’s milk which boosts the child’s immune system.

Coconut oil has multiple health benefits as noted by Amor Coco such as promoting heart health, weight loss, digestion, healthy skin and staying young, healthy immune system and metabolism and lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure and as a testosterone booster.

Coconut oil can be used in cooking, baking, frying and to make coconut butter.

Coconut oil is also used to make soaps, lotions, body gel and cream.

For cosmetic use, coconut oil is used as a natural massage oil, natural skin moisturizer, stimulation of hair growth, preventing and treating dandruff, natural lip balm and as a mouth wash disinfectant. 

In mothers and babies, it treats baby acne and bruises, acts a natural sunscreen, teeth pain reliever, eradicate diaper rash, prevents baby constipation, increases milk flow in nursing mothers, prevents stretch marks, healing of cracked and painful nipple, eases heartburn and nausea and boosts the mothers’ energy and immune system.

Coconut cream is made by pressing the raw, grated kernel.

The shell of the nut can also be processed into coconut dust which is used in horticulture as a growing medium and can also produce activated carbon charcoal which is an efficient fuel alternative.

Coconut tree leaves are used to make brooms known as “makuti” brooms and baskets the fibre, which also largely goes to waste and can be processed into premium house material products or used to manufacture nets for use in greenhouses and ropes.

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