Relevant knowledge, information, and technologies are essential in the entire value chain from the upstream to the downstream process; from the agricultural practices, post-harvest handling, processing, packaging, standardization and certification, storage, and transportation to the market. The development of strong science, technology, and innovation capacity are some of the keys to addressing many of the persistent and emerging challenges associated with the low coconut productivity, poverty of small scale farmers, low product diversification, and value-added product development, and trade-related issues that coconut producing countries are facing. Competent researchers or trainers from research institutions and universities are some of the good resource persons to facilitate linkages in the capacity building and technology transfer program to farmers in collaboration with other actors such as agricultural extension, private companies, and local governments.
In addition to the knowledge and technologies in the upstream process, consumer preferences, market prices, and quality products in local and global markets are the essential information that must be known by actors in the agribusiness including farmers. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are a valuable tool for furnishing the required information in a timely and cost-effective manner. Through the ICT system, farmers can get information from various sources from agricultural research and extension, buyers, other farmers or farmer organizations, processors, financial institutions to improve their decision-making process in one application or portal.
The implementation of capacity building and technology transfer programs becomes more effective and efficient when farmers are spatially grouped with the assistance of the government, private sector, and other key stakeholders. To reduce the transaction costs and more efficient raw material supply, it is important to facilitate and support the formation of economically viable coconut farmer’s cooperatives, coconut producer societies, or coconut producer companies to enhance productivity, collaboration, and bargaining position. By working together in a cooperative structure, producers can create economies of scale that allow them to compete with other similar businesses.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Coconut Community has organized various capacity building through online training in collaboration with the Non-aligned movement Centre for South-South Technical Cooperation (NAM-Centre) and the International Trade Centre (ITC). ICC has collaborated with the Coconut Research Institute Sri Lanka (CRI-SL), Ministry of Plantation Government of Sri Lanka in conducting an international training course for coconut development officer. CRI SL has contributed significantly to coconut's innovative technology generation that is beneficial to the current and future coconut development program implementation, and the achievement of sustainable development goals. Building a good network with important players in the value chains is important to sustain coconut development.
DR. JELFINA C. ALOUW