Local farmers, regional traders, farmer cooperatives, non-governmental organisations, industry consultants, and representatives from key trading partners and actors from all levels of the industry will come together for the three-day workshop from 11-13 July.
The “Coconut Industry Development for the Pacific Value Chain Stakeholders Workshop” is organised by the Coconut Industry Development for the Pacific project (CIDP), a EUR 4 million (FJD 9.33 million) joint initiative with the Pacific Community (SPC), the European Union (EU) and the African Caribbean & Pacific Group of States (ACP).
Participants will have the opportunity to take a 360-degree view of the trends, opportunities, constraints and challenges that the industry and stakeholders face. The information exchange, varying perspectives, in-depth discussions and creative solution finding in the workshop will form the basis for developing an operational plan with key activities and priorities to be implemented by the CIDP project.
“Without a doubt, coconuts are highly significant for daily subsistence and economic and cultural value in the Pacific. The ‘tree of life’ is abundant in our islands and provides not only a direct source of cash income for those in the rural areas, but also a myriad of products that are useful. In food security, land stability, construction and building, beauty and skincare, cultural production, transportation, and even in mixed production systems where copra meal can be used as a source of protein for cattle and livestock, coconuts feature prominently in almost all aspects of day-to-day Pacific life”, said the Director of the Land Resources Division of the Pacific Community, Mr Jan Helsen.
The workshop will include a “Coconut Market Place” where participants will show examples of their products and innovations and share ideas about new product development and market opportunities.
“Identified as one of the most important agricultural crops in the Pacific Islands, a multitude of opportunities are rapidly emerging in the sector that will bring positive effects in local economies and livelihoods around the region. Despite all this, the coconut sector in all Pacific Island countries is behind in reaching its full potential”, said Ms Karen Mapusua, Team leader for the CIDP.
”CIDP was established to address these issues and developments, and is determined to bolster the coconut sector through improving the competitiveness of small producers, strengthening regional integration of related markets and intensifying production. By bringing together diverse industry stakeholders for this workshop, CIDP will be able to identify priority areas for training, needs for potential study tours and develop robust value chain road maps. Ms Mapusua further added that the workshop is an excellent platform to provide private sector members exposure to examples of innovation in the coconut sector from their Pacific neighbours and the international arena”.
Photo by Pacific Community