In response to leading supermarkets in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA) removing Thai coconut products from their shelves amid allegations that mistreated monkeys were being used to pick coconuts in Thailand, the Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister, Jurin Laksanawisit, insisted that the country’s industrial sector does not use monkeys to harvest coconuts.
Mr Jurin said manufacturers of Thai coconut products will be invited to a meeting today (July 8) to discuss ways to clarify the situation to foreign traders. In addition, foreign ambassadors to Thailand, who have questions about this issue, will be invited to visit the actual farms.
Mr. Jurin said the issue had already been clarified in the past. Images and video clips of monkeys picking coconuts up tall trees are only a reflection of Thai culture to promote tourism. These days, monkeys aren’t used to harvest coconuts on an industrial scale.
In 2020, Thailand produced 788,000 tons of coconuts. The country has 15 coconut processing plants, which can produce 113,000 tons of milk in total. About 70 per cent are for domestic consumption, while the rest is for exports. Thailand also imports coconuts from neighbouring countries. Thailand mainly exports coconut milk and young coconuts. Last year, the export value of coconut milk was 12.3 billion baht, with eight per cent of coconut milk exported to England and 18 per cent exported to other European countries. The issue does not affect Asian countries, as they have an accurate understanding of the Thai way of life.