Coconut – The Timber of the Future?

coconut-plantationI have to be honest, I haven’t found a website that has made me this exicited in a l-o-n-g time. The implications of the commercial validity of coconut as marketable timber in the global economy has had my hand failing to keep up with the possibilities and opportunities bubbling around in my head: I’ve made a couple phone calls, flicked off a couple emails, written a rough proposal and a brief business plan.

And the cause for this little tantrum is what is referred to simply as cocowood.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research has been conducting a project since 2007 in Fiji and Samoa called Improving Value and Marketability of Coconut Wood. The project has a budget of AU$520,552 and is anticipated to end in April 2010. The project addresses key issues relating to the acceptance of coconut wood into the high value flooring market. It is specificly focused on developing processing systems and profiles for high quality flooring, and defining appropriate grading standards, product specifications and quality control systems.

As the 5th largest coconut producer in the world and by far the largest in the Pacific, PNG is at the doorstep of a lucrative opportunity to become a market leader in cocowood production. What makes it even more realistic is the fact that PNG has a large number of aging colonial coconut plantations which produce less and less quality coconuts each year for copra and coconut production.

An Example of CocowoodWhat better way to deal with these senile plantations than to generate new timber industries and create new PNG export and consumer markets, while providing a new source of income for PNG folks from an abundant and locally available resource?

With strong demand for flooring products in Asia, America and Europe, there is a definite market available for cocowood products.


To see more photos of cocowood furniture click here.

~ by Tavurvur on January 17, 2009.

4 Responses to “Coconut – The Timber of the Future?”

  1. Great article and I’ll do a story on this with pictures I took at Kokopo last December.


  2. I actually first learnt of this when I met a guy from Norway married to a Papua New Guinean lady. The guy showed me a sample of the cocowood and boasted about the prospects of PNG processing and exporting cocowood. Apparently it is the strongest wood product that doesn’t require chemicals to treat. Termites can’t also burrow into the cocowood and it is good for floorings, walls and just about any furniture. I certainly agree that it can be a niche market for PNG given as you indicated, the abundance of colonial plantations that aren’t producing quality nuts and these senile palm trees can be processed into something more beneficial like cocowoods.

  3. Growing up in the village we used coconut for floorings, particularly for floorboards but that was usually used on hausbois or if there was no limbum or suitable bamboo. Of course – the coconut we used wasn’t processed, just chopped down, split up, the pulp taken out, beaten, and then used.

    The thing I love about cocowood is the colour. Remember when you used your bushknife to chip off a bit of the trunk to put your mark on it? Well – that sexy speckled colour which was revealed by your blade is even more amazing with processed cocowood. I just love it!

    I should post some proper photos of cocowood furniture. One other benefit of cocowood is that if PNG can really create a niche market out of it and become a market leader in its production – we won’t have to cut down as much of our ancient forests.

  4. I actaully just went to a mahogony furniture store and found they had several beautifull entertaiment cabinets and shelves made of coconut timber some of them had other timbers like teak mixed with the coconut timber. Loved it so much just brought a new tv cabinet…

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