Introduction to coconut handicrafts
Throughout the settled history of the Chagos islands, coconut plantations were the economic base and main source of employment. Chagos islanders had many uses for the different parts of the coconut plant. Dried coconut flesh can be pressed to produce coconut oil, and the remaining fibrous copra meal can be fed to animals. Coconut shells and coconut husks can be burned as fuel for cooking and to heat irons, and the ashes can be mixed with coconut oil to produce soap. Fibrous coir from the husks can be pressed into mattresses and pillows or twisted into rope; and the leafy fronds can be woven into brooms, bags, baskets, and thatched roofs.