Coconut Productivity Promotion to Serve the Needs of Coconut Milk Manufacturers: A Case Study of Thap Sakae District, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province
The objectives of this research were to 1) explore the problems and the self-adjustment of coconut farmers, 2) discover approaches to the enhancement of coconut productivity to serve the demand of medium and large industrial manufacturers, and 3) discover approaches to the increase of coconut farmers’ income. This study was conducted using mixed methods. In the quantitative part, 400 coconut farmers residing in Thap Sakae District, Phrachuap Khiri Khan Province, were selected to be the samples using a stratified random sampling method, and the descriptive statistics was used in the data analysis. In the qualitative part, the data were collected from key informants who were coconut farmers, coconut milk manufacturing executives, and academics through in-depth interviews. Then, the data were analyzed using the content analysis. The results of the study revealed that the coconut farmers’ problems, ranged from the most to the least problematic, were a continuous decrease in coconut price, drought, and destructive coconut pests. Considering the coconut farmers’ self-adjustment, it was found that the coconut farmers must adjust themselves to the changing society as well as national economic situations. In order to increase the coconut farmers’ income, a project aimed at enhancing coconut productivity must be initiated along with the collaboration from the industrial sector. This could help reduce the import of coconuts and encourage the purchase of coconuts from local farmers at a reasonable price of 8 – 10 baht. Furthermore, coconut farmers were suggested to plant more coconut trees as well as create waterways in their farms to enhance the productivity. Finally, coconut farmers should be instructed and encouraged to use modern technology for better coconut production.