Value Addition through Innovation and Collaboration
Innovation is related to improving the existing products, processing and packaging technologies, service, or creating new ones. Innovation is needed to address challenges in all coconut value chains. One of the key successes of sustainable coconut industry development is to increase the production of desired varieties as most of the coconut palms are senile. Technologies for increasing production are available from using superior varieties, developing smart farming, and hybridization. However, this isn’t enough to meet the continuously growing demand and competition of raw materials and reduce transport costs. Innovation in propagation techniques through tissue culture could accelerate the availability of desired varieties and solve the seed transportation cost problem. Innovation to improve and scale up the existing micropropagation techniques to produce seeds affordable at the farmer level should be pursued as it would be greater support to the industry. Only low-cost and efficient producers can survive and compete in the production sector.
Innovation in the processing techniques, packaging, and supporting machinery and marketing systems that are cost-effective and eco-friendly are also required. There is a great opportunity to add value and gain more profit by targeting certain consumer preferences such as good quality products, sugar with a low glycemic index, milk with affordable lactose-free substitute to animal milk, skim coconut milk with low-fat content, and protein-rich products. Biodegradable plastic-free containers made of coconut fiber have been produced as an affordable and eco-friendly alternative to the traditional Styrofoam containers. Similar products and other product types from coconut husk in combination with magnetite nanoparticles have been produced as biosorption of industrial waste 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. solution to address environmental issues.
Considering that some farmers, individuals, or small enterprises relatively don’t have all the necessary skills for producing raw materials, processing, marketing, and business management, a capacity building, technology transfer, and collaborative partner network or coordination between producers, processors, and those that market coconut products are important to reduce cost and increase market efficiency. The new industry should cope with the high competition with well-established industries. Most consumers in developed countries and some in developing countries increasingly rely on brand or company reputations as quality guides. Horizontal coordination or collaboration deals with individuals or enterprises from the same level of the value chain, on the other hand, vertical coordination includes strategic alliances in different levels of value chains. The value of these collaborations is to increase multilevel learning and technology transfer and to manage well the risk involved. Access to local and international markets with added-value products is essential to improve income and maximize profit.
DR. JELFINA C. ALOUW