Optimizing High Value-Added Products for Stimulating Economic Growth
The coconut sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of some coconut-producing countries ranged from 0,01 to 3,5%. The statistics data show only part of coconut contribution as the palm and its products have been traditionally and widely used by farmers and the local community as a source of edible and non-edible products. As one of the world’s most valuable crops, consumed in more than 110 countries, coconut is owned mostly by smallholder farmers with low capacity in producing high value-added products. The growing local and global market demand for innovative products and low farmer incomes are important drivers of the shift of the traditional to innovative and high added-value products. This potentially create job opportunity in on- and off-farm activities, optimizes revenue, thereby reducing poverty, and stimulating economic growth. There is a high opportunity for adding value to coconut due to nearly all parts of the from the leaf to root can be processed and more than 100 products have been created. Other driving factors include the increased consumer awareness and demands for healthy, environmentally safe, and convenience products.
COVID-19 pandemic should not end our creativity to survive, grow, develop, and rebuild better from crisis. Innovation is essential for an effective response to slow down the negative impact of the pandemic. Innovation is related to improving the existing products, processing, and packaging technologies, and service, or creating new ones. Big thanks to the global innovators for enduring creativity in transforming the low-value to high-value added products of coconut. They keep exploring new ideas, conducting research, and generating technology and innovation.
Biodegradable plastic-free containers made of coconut fiber have been produced by the Philippines startup as an affordable and eco-friendly alternative to the traditional Styrofoam containers. Similar products and other product types from coconut husk have been produced in several countries to optimally use the unprocessed coconut husk and shell and to raise awareness of the importance of all communities’ efforts to solve the plastic waste problem on earth. The use of coconut husk as a wastewater filter not only effectively removes contaminants in the water but also minimizes transportation-related CO2 emissions. Coconut is a potential solution to address environmental issues. Challenges in the production, processing, and marketing value chains and policy supports need to be addressed seriously. Policy support to ensure a good investment climate and sufficient raw materials, structured capacity building and technology transfer, enhanced institutional capacity and multilateral cooperation are some of the key factors that offer great prospects for building an integrated coconut industry.
DR. JELFINA C. ALOUW