Hainan Mirror: Brave Seafarer, The Hainan Coconut

By / / Updated: 17:49,31-January-2023

Editor's note:

“Hainan is a treasure you will fall in love with!” The spirited land of Hainan has unique geographical, natural, historical, and climate conditions that have forged an island culture completely unlike that of any other place on the planet. Hainan Mirror is a short video program that takes an in-depth look at one object, one person, or one focal point, highlighting Hainan’s culture and illuminating the details of the ongoing development of the Hainan Free Trade Port.

Each season of the program focuses on a different theme, such as national treasure, cultural roots, and more, with scenery as the theme of the first season of Hainan Mirror. For the first time, the Editor-in-Chief of Hainan Weekly is coming out from behind the scenes to tell you about the incredibly scenery that lies behind every Hainan story. Where did Hainan’s first coffee tree come from? How has Hainan’s chocolate stunned the world? How do Hainan’s coconuts look so plain but contain so much? Hainan’s pandan, camilla, and Wuzhishan large-leaf teas....

Coconuts have always been an iconic part of Hainan’s island culture. Coconut palms have graced the shores here for over 2,000 years, and 99% of the coconut-producing land in China is located here. Coconuts, however, are not native to Hainan. They originally hail from the Malaysian archipelago, where, thousands of years ago, ripe coconuts fell from palm trees, and rolled into the water. They were then carried by ocean currents to Hainan, where they took root. Soon a new palm tree forest sprang up, and began to spread across the entire island.

These days, when people talk about coconuts, it’s often to exclaim over how they sweeten the flavors of the local island cuisine. Hundreds of Hainan specialty dishes count coconuts in some form or another as an important ingredient, bringing bright tropical island flavors to the joyful tastebuds of diners from near and far. That is of course far from all that the coconut offers - there are also local legends about this wonderful fruit, the intangible heritage art of coconut carving, the “Spirit of the Palm Tree”, the Hainan International Island Film Festival Golden Coconut Award....coconuts symbolize the spiritual wealth of the people of Hainan, and have become a cultural ambassador for this Chinese province located in the balmy waters of the South China Sea.

That’s not all Coconuts also play a major role in one of Hainan’s pillar industries - travel and tourism. Recently, China’s first coconut sightseeing-themed factory, Chunguang Coconut World, was rated as a national 3A-level attraction. More and more high-quality coconut products are now available to shoppers, and these high-end coconut products are also bringing huge economic benefits to local Hainan growers. “Internationally, over 360 types of products are produced from coconuts.” According to Zhang Yufeng, an assistant researcher at the Coconut Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, coconuts are not only used to make food. Hainan coconut products are found in many different fields, including chemical products, light industrial products, and medicines.

“Hainan has a deep cultural connection to coconuts, as well as convenient conditions provided by local FTP policies. If we can bring in and develop coconut industrial clusters in Hainan, the coconut culture can take deeper roots here.” However, Wang Juan of the Hainan Coconut Carving Culture Exhibition Hall explains further that Hainan’s technological, policy, industrial cluster, and cultural advantages are not in and of themselves enough. To truly grow Hainan’s coconut industry even bigger and stronger, more innovative products and modern development concepts are necessary.



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