Dr. Jelfina C.Alouw, Executive Director and Ms. Mridula Kottekate, Assistant Director attended the Graduation Ceremony of the 3rd International Certificate Course for Coconut Development Officers, one of the 2023 International Coconut Community (ICC) programs, organized by Coconut Research Institute - Sri Lanka (CRISL).
In the year 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation prevailed all over the world, International Coconut Community and CRISL conducted the 3rd International Certificate Course for the Coconut Development Officers virtually from 4th October to 5th November 2021. After the pandemic was over, and the international travel ban lifted, a two-week practical session was arranged at CRI Campus for the trainees from 19th June to 4th July 2023.
Nine (9) participants attended physically from six countries, India (2), Indonesia(1), Kenya (1), PNG (3), New Caledonia (1) and Dominican República (1). During the visit to CRI, ED and AD, ICC visited the Tissue Culture laboratory of CRI and had a detail discussion with Dr. Vijitha, Head TC division. She explained the activities being carried out in the laboratory. The progress made by the division could noticed since the last visit of ICC ED and AD in September 2022. Dr. Jelfina appreciated the progress made by the TC team of CRI and discussed if the technology and capacity building can be shared with other ICC member countries.
Further Dr. Jelfina had a interaction with the trainees of the international certificate course. All of them expressed their satisfaction and happiness to be part of the course. Mr. David Napwora Makokha, Technical Assistant, Nuts and Oil Crops Directorate, Kenya shared the experience on behalf of the trainees during the graduation ceremony. He presented their valuable practical learning for gaining a better understanding of the theoretical course and for better retention of knowledge before applying and adapting it in the country’s agroecology-based coconut plantation situations. Besides, they found there was an extensive exchange of knowledge and skills during the 14-day of training program among trainers from different countries, which was beneficial for building on their existing knowledge and skills. Given the wide variety of topics covered in the course, the trainees suggested longer practical lessons due to challenge of mastering multiple subjects.
He appreciated the arrangements of CRI mainly the involvement of young scientists and researchers and thanked ICC and CRI for organizing the training program. Further he added that there is a huge demand for quality coconut drupes across the globe which needs to address by ICC member countries.
The graduation ceremony started with the welcome address by Dr. Sanathanie Ranasinghe, Director. Mrs. Surekha Attanayake, Director (Policy) represented Ministry of Plantation and appreciated CRI and ICC for organizing such informative course for the officers and this is consecutive third year the course is being organized by CRI.
Dr. Jelfina C.Alouw, Executive Director in her keynote address appreciated the government of Sri Lanka through Ministry of Plantation Industry, and CRI for organizing the course continuously for three years and also thanked all the participants and the country government for sponsoring and deputing their officers for the course. She added that as we continue to overcome the global challenges of low coconut production, lack of significant development of high value-added products, and to meet global market demand, the importance of the role of trainees might bring noticeable improvement to the coconut sector.
Dr. Jelfina distributed the certificate of graduation to all the nine trainees and certificate of appreciation from ICC to Dr. Sanathanie, Director CRI for successfully conducting the course. The program concluded with the vote of thanks by Dr. Lalith Perera, Additional Director, CRI. The program was attended by Dr. Anjana Atapattu, Head Agronomy Division , Dr. Auchithya Dissanayake, Head Plant Breeding Division the course coordinators, Ms. Mridula AD, ICC and other faculties of CRI.