Since 2019, the biannual WCD has only been celebrated in Alotau. This year's WCD theme was ‘Invest in Coconut to Save the World.’
The WCD celebrations attracted coconut growers from the four provincial districts like Alotau, Samarai Murua, Esa'ala and Kiriwina Good Enough.
According to one organizer, Milne Bay Division of Agriculture Livestock, Principal Advisor, Jonathan Kapoila, since the inaugural event, WCD celebrations in 2019 at Bubuletta, the coconut growers had improved their range of coconut products.
Another official, Milne Bay Integrated Cooperative Association, Chairman Noah Taugaloidi, also agreed that the improvement had shown coconut growers were serious in Small Medium Enterprise.
The range of improved products are Virgin Coconut Oil, soaps, body lotions and oil.
Both agreed that there had been a remarkable improvement in the range of coconut products and presentation since the last WCD.
Mr Kapoila said Milne Bay DAL, Milne Provincial Government and line agency, Kokonas Industry Korporesen (KIK) had supported and funded the WCD.
"The support and funding had beared it's fruit," he said.
The Milne Bay DAL and KIK have so far achieved the following:
- 20 coconut nurseries established with each having the capacity of 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000;
- 220,000 coconut seedlings raised;
- 60,140 seedlings planted covering 488 hectares;
- Serviced 3,500 coconut farmers;
- 25 Small to Medium coconut SMEs established;
- 28 White Copra facilities distributed to farmers;
- 3 coconut based farming established;
- Provide market chain outlet for all Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) for Milne Bay farmers;
- Distributed 28 electrical graters to VCO farmers;
- Establishment of K40,000 worth of VCO processing facility for the province and;
- Involved nine Local Level Governments into coconut development programs, which cover 60 wards in MBP.
To prove the improvement, one WCD exhibitor, Alotau Tours, Ben Jainona, a tour operator, has resorted to selling his coconut products after the cruise tourism fell on hard times after cruise tourism to Milne Bay was halted abruptly due to the COVID 19 situation.
Jainona said he stumbled upon the coconut processing products selling to international tourists.
"Now that cruise tourism has fallen on hard times for me I use the sale of coconut products to help my business,” he said.
His booth won an award at the WCD, the next WCD will be in 2023.