This section is from the book "The Planting, Cultivation And Expression Of Coconuts, Kernels, Cacao And Edible Vegetable Oils And Seeds Of Commerce", by H. Osman Newland. Also available from Amazon: The Planting, Cultivation And Expression Of Coconuts, Kernels, Cacao And Edible Vegetable Oils And Seeds Of Commerce.
The nuts are produced in bunches of from 10 to 12 nuts each. Natives climb the trees and throw down the nuts. One native should harvest 400 nuts a day, and he should at the same time remove dead leaves from the crown and search for beetles or other insect pests. In a few places the nuts are allowed to remain until they fall naturally from the trees, especially if such nuts are required for seed purposes.
The cost of forming and maintaining a coconut plantation varies according to (a) rent, (b) the character and condition of the soil, and (c) the supply and cost of labour. The following is a fair estimate for the Malay States :First Year.- Felling £750, draining £750, seed £350, fencing £200, lining and planting £150, coolie lines £65, bungalow £150, tools £35, stationery £15, medical £200, weeding first six months at £20 per acre, superintendence £500, contingencies £150, say . . £3,000
Second Year.- Weeding £750, superintendence £500, medical and contingencies £250, .... 1,500
Third Year. - Weeding, £750, superintendence, £500, medical and contingencies, £250, .... £1,500
Fourth Year.- Weeding only £450,.....1,200
Fifth Fear.-Weeding only £400,.....1,150
Sixth Year.- Weeding only £450, picking £40, curing £150, transport £150, ....... 1,500
Seventh Year.- With extra cost picking, .... 1,900
Eighth Year.- „ „ .... 2,200
It is assumed that the production of copra will be on the average of 220 nuts to the picul of copra (133 1/3 lbs.), the average yield per tree of five years of age in Malay and Ceylon being 1 1/2 lbs.
In East Africa palm lands vary from about 4s. to £1 per acre ; clearing and weeding during the period before trees arrive at the producing stage is estimated at £25 per acre. Full bearing takes place at the tenth or twelfth year ; and an annual yield of three-quarters of a ton of copra to the acre has been obtained.
The following is an estimate of revenue, expenditure, and profit from 2,000 acres of virgin land in West Africa. Capital outlay, £20,000 :-
The above estimate is based on copra at £21 per ton and coir fibre at £10 per ton, thus leaving a very large margin on present values.
Another authority gives the following figures of the revenue, expenditure, and profit from copra alone from 500 acres in Malabar. Capital outlay, £4,000 :-
Sixth year, 20 nuts per tree,
Seventh year, 40 „
Eighth year, 60 „
Valuation has always been taken as seven years' purchase of the estimated profits, and a fair investment valuation may be taken as ten years' purchase of estimated profits, as there is not the same fluctuation in the price of copra as there has been in rubber.
In some parts of the world coconut estates are many but small, and in different hands. The question of co-operative milling has, therefore, arisen. In this connection it may be said that it is estimated a minimum of 7,200 tons of copra per year, or 14,000 acres of coconuts in bearing, would be required to justify the erection of a co-operative mill. After 8 per cent, had been set aside for interest to shareholders and fair depreciation allowed on machinery, the profit accruing would be divided amongst the contributing estates according to the quantity of copra delivered.