In a bid to secure international market access for coconut products, the government is poised to streamline the issuance of “monkey-free” certificates to coconut cultivators who hold Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) credentials.
The Department of Agriculture (DOA) has embarked on an accelerated endeavor to roll out the “GAP Monkey-Free Plus” emblem to both coconut farmers and exporters. This certificate represents an upgraded iteration of the Monkey-Free Plus logo, which debuted last year in the wake of allegations from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The animal rights organization accused Thai coconut farmers of subjecting monkeys to exploitation in the process of harvesting coconuts. This prompted the global community to boycott such products.
According to insights from Director-General Raphiphat Chantharasriwong, agricultural practitioners will qualify for the enhanced certification once authorities have meticulously verified that their coconut yields originate from plantations duly endorsed with GAP certification. Importantly, these plantations must adhere to the stipulation of abstaining from employing monkeys in coconut collection. Concurrently, the department is committed to a comprehensive assessment and validation procedure for exporters who are yet to secure GAP recognition, facilitating their attainment of the standard Monkey-Free Plus certification.
Director-General Chantharasriwong additionally disclosed that officials are actively encouraging farmers to phase out coconut trees surpassing the half-century mark. Instead, they are advised to replant with new-generation, short-trunk coconut trees. These young saplings, nurtured by the department for distribution to coconut cultivators, will mature into trees boasting truncated trunks. This strategic move empowers farmers to adopt diverse coconut harvesting techniques, obviating the need for monkey involvement.
The collective efforts by the government, in partnership with certified farmers and exporters, are poised to not only safeguard the welfare of animals but also fortify the country’s standing in the global market, reassuring consumers of ethical and sustainable coconut production practices.