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Legend of Koh Samui's Coconuts

Koh Samui is the third largest island of Thailand after Koh Phuket and Koh Chang. (Koh means island.) In the past, it had the most coconuts, and had been supplying the fruits and oil extracted from them for over a hundred years. Coconuts were very important as economic crop plants, hence the island's symbol.

Transportation of coconuts and coconut oil to consumers nationwide was by two freighters: Phanu Rangsi and Harin ships. They sailed from Songkhla to board passengers and goods, and carried them to Bangkok. There the goods were in turn distributed to all over the country. Coconuts brought prosperity to gardeners, allowing them to send their children to Bangkok for education. Some of whom later worked for civil services.

Dying Age of Coconuts

In recent thirty years, on the other hand, the economic crop plants fail to help gardener families lead comfortable lives. Coconuts were cultivated further onto mainland in several provinces. Supply rises, along with the construction of more roads as the country develops. Faster land transportation becomes favoured. Sea transportation becomes less popular. Merchant marine business discontinues. Furthermore, marketing of oils from other plants also gain governmental support. The once flourishing coconut oil trade decelerates, causing coconut price to drop below break-even point if coconuts are manually harvested. Gardeners then collect them only after they naturally fall.

At present, Koh Samui is promoted as a paradise island for tourists. More and more people come and stay. Coconut trees are cut to free more areas for accommodations and provide construction materials. Coconuts, the symbol of Koh Samui, are dying out from here. Without proactive preservation, the charms of the island will soon follow its coconuts' faith, ergo the terminus of its bliss and joy.

Coconuts Never Gone

While coconuts are less plentiful, and coconut oil business is less active, scientific research reveals that the oil is among the healthiest vegetable oils. Its nutritional benefit is excellent. It also bears medicinal properties, in accordance with Ayurveda. Many Thais and foreigners alike are now turning to coconut oil. Coconuts will soon shine again. Their status of economic crop plants will be restored. And prosperity of gardeners will be brought back by none other than the island's heritage: quality coconuts and coconut oil.