Coconut has been a part of Indonesian culture and the country’s culinary. The crop itself can be easily grown in equator area – the facts that Indonesia is a country that is passed by the equator line and known as the second country with the longest beach line in the world has been helping Indonesia to become one of the biggest coconut producers in the world.
The demand for coconut products is increasing every day and to meet the needs, the involvement of smallholder coconut farmers surely cannot be separated from its production process.
Every single coconut goes through quite a lengthy process – from the trees all the way to the consumers. The coconuts are being harvested by using traditional means by owners of the groves who are the smallholder farmers. Once the coconuts are harvested, each farmer would transfer their harvest to the collection points where it would then be transported to the processing facilities by using wooden boats and shipped to processing facilities. Upon the arrival at the factory, each coconut is going through a hygienic and integrated processing to produce high quality coconut-based products.
Coconut (Cocos nucifera) is high in energy, fibers, vitamins (C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6), and minerals (copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc). It contains lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid that increases good HDL cholesterol levels in the blood, preventing blockages of blood vessels. Clinical trials indicate the benefits of coconut for reducing the risk of chronic disease and treatment of numerous diseases such as diabetes, cancer, psoriasis, brain malfunction and high blood pressure.
Coconut water consists of simple sugar, electrolytes, minerals, and bioactive compounds such as cytokinin, and enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, peroxidase, and polymerases. These enzymes help in digestion and metabolism. Research shows that cytokinins in coconut water have significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects.
The largest coconut producers over the years are the provinces of Riau in Sumatra, North Sulawesi and East Java. In Sumatra, coconut milk (the liquid that comes from squeezing the grated meat) of a mature coconut is an important ingredient in many cuisines, including rendang, caramelized beef curry from West Sumatra; gulai belacan, large shrimp cooked in Riau spices; gulai ikan patin, curried catfish from Jambi; and pendap, mackerel with herbs and spices wrapped in banana leaf from Bengkulu.
In Sulawesi, in addition to coconut milk, toasted coconut is a distinct ingredient in some of its dishes. Nasu likku, a chicken dish from Makassar, South Sulawesi, is made from chicken, galangal, tamarind, lemon grass and toasted coconut. Tabu moitomo is a black beef soup from Gorontalo that uses more than 30 herbs and spices with toasted coconut as its main ingredient.
In East Java, shredded coconut is used in some of its snacks. Ketan intip from the City of Ngawi is made from glutinous rice, coated with soybean powder and coarse shredded coconut. Berdapan is a traditional snack with a unique shape made from grated cassava stuffed with coarsely grated coconut cooked with palm sugar and pandan leaves. Madumongso is a sweet snack in Madiun, made from black glutinous rice, coconut milk, sugar, and shredded coconut, wrapped in colorful paper.