Copra is dried coconut albumen. The flowering of the coconut palm results in drupes, which are green fruit growing in bunches of 5 or 6 in the axils of the tree: each fruit in turn contains 5 or 6 nuts. The nuts are surrounded by a dense fibrous husk 5 to 15 cm thick, called the pericarp. Under the husk, there is a very hard, thin brown kernel containing the albumen, a milky white liquid known as coconut milk, which is transformed into flesh as the fruit matures. This is the substance of which coconut, or copra, consists
Germinated coconuts are planted at low depths in a rich soil to which a preferably salty sand has been added. Coconut palms require only approximately 1.5 cubic meters of water per year, which means that they do not need to be watered unless the dry season lasts for longer than 3 months. Although coconut trees can be planted all year round, it is best to avoid doing so during the dry season
Coconut palms produce their first crop at the age of six to eight years, and continue to produce coconuts for a further fifty to seventy years under normal growth conditions, as long as they undergo no damage. Due to the fragility of the atolls and their exposure to the elements, the palm trees rarely live so long
When the coconuts have matured, they fall to the ground. Sometimes the farmers do not wait for this to occur and harvest them by picking them from the trees. Once the coconuts have been collected, the dried albumen is detached.