Last Update: September 18, 2017
Executive Director Speaks
Initiatives Towards Product Diversification Seek Out Viable Opportunities in the Coconut Industry
It is encouraging to observe the emerging entrepreneurs pursuing various products of coconuts commercially in the sector. The organizations are seeking out viable opportunities that present themselves in the business of coconut and its by-products. Commercial activities are starting up amongst the various nature of enterprise whether informal, semi-formal, micro and small to medium at farm level. The Government of India is seeking out interested parties through its Coconut Development Board to be engaged in downstream processing activities for high value coconut products with the potential of securing government assistance to establish. Over 18 new projects were approved at the time of this report to the value of Rs 12.76 crore (USD2 million) to boost efforts in value addition. Manufacturers of equipment for the coconut industry have continued to improvise on technology and pursuing cost-effective prototypes that would enable improvement in productivity and profitability of the ventures in respective product processing.
Philippines recently concluded the COCOLINK Conference in Davao City where stakeholders in the industry gathered to receive useful information and exchange ideas on how to progress the sector and in particular address the impoverished state of coconut farmers. It is important to clearly identify where the opportunities are and how these would benefit the farmers. For the industry to be sustainable success ought to be shared on a win-win-win basis from the top down between the raw material provider, buyer, processor and exporter. If in the case of a buyer, processor and exporter being the one entity then it would be all the more workable. A transparent benefit stream evidenced by the farming community is a sure way of encouraging continued planting and involvement in the coconut industry by farmers.
A number of Pacific countries are moving to develop programs to address the poor state of farms and farmers hence needing intervention by government through respective industry institutions with selected incentives especially in areas of improving viability of farmers. Diversification would be crucial for stakeholders through downstream processing of potential high value products including access to local and overseas markets and recommended intercropping under coconut with marketable food crops and even rearing of small livestock.
A recent visit by APCC to the Philippine Coconut Authority’s Zamboanga Research Centre (PCA ZRC) showed encouraging effort and contribution to the coconut sector in the Philippines and globally since establishment in 1973. APCC was impressed with continuing efforts in improving varieties and the progress with coconut embryo culture. Innovations in downstream processing of products including the fabrication of selected equipment were of high quality yet very much on trial for further improvement. The number of keen scientists in their 20’s is indeed an organizational development effort to revitalize and maintain the important human resource needed to sustain and even better the important outcomes of such a facility. The PCA ZRC is the larger of two sister centres in Davao and Albay, all of which are continuing to conduct excellent work despite severe resource constraints.
The appreciation of science is important for all countries to enhance strategic development pathways hence the policy support with its adequate resource backing is required to perform to expectations. APCC congratulates PCA and encourages its member countries to excel in their respective R&D agenda for the long term benefit of the coconut farmers.
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