You mean “Pol“? Yeah, I mean coconuts which is called Pol in the local language. It is one of the largest exports of the country that has been up and running with tea and rubber to be the largest export of products right after Textiles.
In Sri Lanka, the Coconut tree is also called as the Kapruka because it is one of the those trees that could be used starting from the root to the flowers, or simply saying, the whole tree is used up without any left overs.
With a contact that was so eager to share knowledge on the whole Coconut process of Sri Lanka, I was able to go visit a D/C Mill (Desiccated Coconuts) at Giriulla area. As of the country’s largest DC Mills, this coconut farm produces patented products as well as a wide range of items on export quality. Let’s start..
Leaving Colombo, you can arrive at Giriulla which is of about 1 ½ hrs of a drive. As I already had my contact who arranged everything beforehand, the security guys tagged me up and gave permission to enter this valuable yet vast factory which was up and running.
Starting from the plucking of coconuts from the vast coconut fields of this area (Coconut Triangle of Sri Lanka), many people supply coconuts to this factory. Around 300,000 coconuts are brought in everyday and then differentiated based on the condition and demand from the market.
Some of the products made here at this Coconut factory are:
- Desiccated coconuts
- Vita Coco
- Coir ropes
- Coconut peat (the fibres pressed hard into the shape of slabs)
- Virgin Coconut oil
- Crispy flakes
Desiccated coconuts? Ah you know all about it right.. Won’t be talking about that.
But, as a Sri Lankan, I’m really proud to know that Vita Coco is manufactured in Sri Lanka and exported to USA. This is done strictly under the supervision and we were not given permission even to enter the production unit because the whole Vita Coco is an unique product sold in USA.
Then the coir rope making.. With the fibres from the coconut husks and then sent through a machine that ties all up, long strings of coconut ropes are being produced using machinery. Well of course, coir ropes (Kohu Lanu) are much popular in Sri Lanka and the most common would be to use as a line in the garden to dry the clothes 🙂
Then the Coconut peat, which is used in many Sri Lankan households, especially out of Colombo to be used as fertilizer is put into pressed slabs. With these slabs, it would only water and you can grow a plant very easily because it wouldn’t take up much space actually.
I have seen virgin olive oil but for the first time I checked-out virgin coconut oil. Wow.. Trust me, it gives away a great taste and it’s almost colorless. The guys at the factory told me that many people drink virgin coconut oil because it’s good for health as well.
Nevertheless, Sri Lanka is a country where most houses are built up using timber and wood for the roof part. The coconut lumber (timber) or “Parala” as in the local language are crafted out from the coconut tree body.
The coconut flower is used to produce Toddy (Raa) which is a famous local drink and also to produce Jaggery (Hakuru) a sweet that is used as a substitute for sugar and also as an ingredient to make many sweets.
Like I said, The coconut experience is one of the best you can find in Sri Lanka. What is your favorite use of the coconut tree?