The virtual meeting of ICC Technical Working Group (TWG) was held on 8 February 2022, under the chairmanship of Mr. Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr., Administrator, Philippines Coconut Authority (PCA). The TWG’s members attended are Dr. Vinesh Kumar (Permanent Secretary, Agriculture Ministry of Agriculture, Fiji), Mr. Rajeev Bhushan Prasad (Chief Coconut Development Officer, Coconut Development Board, India), Dr. Lalith Perera (Additional Director, Coconut Research Institute, Sri Lanka), Dr. Millicent Wallace, (Director, Research Coconut Industry Board, Jamaica) and Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director, ICC. Participants in attendance were Dr. Rohit Lal, Senior Research Officer, Fiji, Mr. Shalendra Prasad, Chief Economist, Fiji, and Ms. Deepthi S. Nair Deputy Director-Marketing, Coconut Development Board, India. The ICC Secretariat attendees were Ms. Mridula Kottekate, Assistant Director; Mr. Alit Pirmansah, Marketing and Statistic Officer; Mr. Klaudio Hosang, Administration and Finance Officer, and Mr. Otniel Sintoro, Information and Publication Officer.
Dr. Jelfina Alouw, Executive Director, welcomed the Chair and members of ICC-TWG. She mentioned that the Technical Working Group is an ad hoc committee formed to support ICC in providing technical and policy guidance for formulating and implementing programs and projects. ICC has made a five-year strategic plan (2020-2024) based on inputs from TWG, SACH, stakeholders, and country reports and was approved by the ICC Session & Ministerial Meeting in 2019. However, due to continuous changing situation in the coconut sector, there is always a room for updates and improvements. Therefore, input from TWG is always needed. As the coconut sector has faced several challenges, the industry needs to develop a holistic research and development program. ICC has signed and executed agreements with several international institutions to support capacity building, research, and technology transfer. ICC always makes sure that the mutual benefits are in place and a positive impact of the agreements to the member countries.
Mr. Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr., Administrator, PCA, and Chairman, ICC-TWG, presented on “Enhancing the Role of ICC in the Global Coconut Industry”, wherein he briefed the overview of ICC objectives, mission and vision, gaps and challenges, possible areas for improvement, and proposed the integration of all efforts of the ICC for the strategy development. He concluded with the way ahead and the immediate actions of the ICC-TWG for the strategic mapping in alignment with 2022 ICC programs and projects.
Dr. Jelfina, Executive Director presented the challenges and opportunities and ICC’s program and project for 2022 approved by the 57th ICC Session & Ministerial meeting. The presentation included the challenges on the Global Sustainable Coconut Sector and the potential to address those challenges through collaborative efforts among all stakeholders. The major program of ICC for 2022 are training of trainers, workshop on Good Agriculture Practices, 1st Integrated Pest Management Symposium, 2nd Tissue Culture Symposium & Training, harmonized quality standard of coconut products and International COCOTECH Conference & Exhibition.
There were in detail discussion and the members and chair shared their thoughts and views as well as suggestions for effective implementation of the programs which needs to be reached to the ultimate beneficiaries. Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw acknowledged the invaluable advice, support, and guidance provided by the TWG to ICC and appreciated the participants for their active participation in the meeting.
Ms. Mridula Kottekate, Assistant Director, delivered the closing remarks and moderated the meeting.