Coconut vendors have blamed the fresh coconut price hike on the escalating price of other commodities.
Elijah, who has been in the business for the past twenty years, explained that the cost of inputs has risen.
“Farmers spend more on fertiliser. The workers want an increase in wages,” Elijah, whom people also know as ‘Pure Nuts’ told St. Lucia Times.
He also explained that vendors have to pay the Castries Constituency Council (CCC) more, currently forty dollars daily, in rent for the spot near the Castries market where they sell the coconuts except on holidays and Sundays.
“Everything going up – the price of the bottles, so that’s why we decide to increase the price of the coconuts,” Elijah stated.
The vendors currently sell a fresh coconut for $2.50, whereas a large bottle of coconut water costs $12 and a small one $6.
Elijah said he does not own a coconut plantation but buys from farmers who also want a pay hike.
“It’s all across the board, not just us,” he asserted.
“Sometimes we reach as far as Mahaut, that’s in Micoud, to get coconuts. So sometimes just to get the coconuts here we use $100 gas and in a day we have four fellows at the farm and three at the market. So that’s seven guys working during the day. We have to pay everybody, plus the farmer,” the vendor told St. Lucia Times.
Elijah said although some farmers sell their produce themselves, they only do so occasionally.
On the other hand, he explained that he and others do so every day.
“The last time we had the increase for the coconut, we had it like close to fifteen years or thereabouts and kept that down from that time. That’s why we decide to implement the increase,” Elijah recalled.
He noted that the price hike resulted from consultation among some vendors, some of whom have decided to hold back in an apparent attempt to win over customers.
According to Elijah, on average, he would sell 400 coconuts daily.
Regarding the customer’s reaction to the $2.50 price, he estimated that his sales had dropped by about ten percent.
Mayo Clinic describes coconut water as a type of juice.
But its official website said that, unlike other juices, unflavored coconut water is low in sugar and calories.
Coconut water has electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium and manganese.
According to Mayo Clinic, it also contains 45 to 60 calories in an 8-ounce serving.