Coconut industry representatives from the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu are participating for the first time in the 2nd International Conference on Coconut Oil (ICCO2017) in Bangkok, Thailand this week (15-18 March).
The objective of ICCO 2017 is to further coconut oil production, utilisation and marketing in Asia and the Pacific as well as the emerging markets at a global level for all coconut and coconut oil products.
The three-year Coconut Industry Development (CIDP) Programme worth €4 million is funded by the European Union (EU) and is being implemented the Pacific Community (SPC).
The programme aims to improve the competitiveness of small producers engaged in the coconut value chains, through a strengthened regional integration of related markets and the intensification of production.
SPC Deputy Director-General (Suva), Dr Audrey Aumua said, “This will be the first of several opportunities for Pacific countries to participate in events dedicated to the marketing and value adding of coconut products through CIDP. The programme will also develop capacity building programmes for implementation at national level ensuring over the course of the programme, opportunities for as many stakeholders as possible.”
Chair of the Solomon Islands Coconut Industry Working group, Bevan Vollrath, said of his experience so far at the conference, “The technical papers have been very useful, but what is most interesting is learning from industry experts from the Asia and Pacific Region who have worked through many of the production and marketing challenges we still face. I really appreciate the opportunity to participate.”
The First International Strategic Action Plan for Coconut Oil, developed at the ICCO 2015, will be discussed and updated at ICCO 2017.
Of particular importance in ICCO 2015 were the Health and Nutraceutical benefits of Coconut Oil and the development of the First International Strategic Action Plan for Coconut Oil. The 2017 meeting focuses on the development of downstream products such as skin and body care products and ingredients, quality and processing which are areas of great importance to the coconut industry in the region and aligned to the objectives of CIDP.
In addition to planned training and programmes for farmers and others stakeholders involved in the coconut industry value chain, the project is also developing a ‘Coconut Risks Management and Mitigation for the Pacific Region’ manual to help farmers and processors better plan and prepare for the range of risks the sector faces including climate, market fluctuations and pests.