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ICCO 2024: Pioneering Smart Coconut Production and Market Expansion

The International Conference on Coconut (ICCO 2024), themed "Integrated Technology for Smart Coconut Production and Market Opportunity," was successfully held at the BITEC International Exhibition and Convention Center in Bang Na, Bangkok, on May 23-24, 2024. The event included a field trip associated with Horti Asia 2024, focusing on innovative research and strategies for coconut production, processing, and marketing, with a particular emphasis on the health and nutraceutical benefits of coconut products.

The conference was co-organized by the Conservation and Development of Coconut Oil Forum of Thailand (CDCOT), the Thailand Department of Agriculture (DOA), Kasetsart University, the Horticultural Science Society of Thailand (HSST), Thailand Coconut Processors, and VNU Exhibition Asia & Pacific. Additionally, the International Coconut Community (ICC) contributed significantly, with ICC's Executive Director, Dr. Jelfina Alouw, and Assistant Director, Mr. Nuwan Chinthaka, actively participating in the conference and the field visit.


In her speech in the inaugural session, Dr. Jelfina highlighted the global opportunities and challenges within the coconut sector. She emphasized the versatility of coconut products in both food and non-food sectors, underscoring their potential in environmental conservation and sustainable development. Her keynote speech, "Coconut Industry Trends: Current and Emerging Developments in Production, Utilization, and Trade," focused on the vital role of technology and innovation in revolutionizing the coconut industry. Dr. Jelfina highlighted that coconuts are essential for economic, social, and environmental sustainability, offering over 100 food, healthcare, and non-food products. She pointed out the industry's significant contributions to poverty alleviation, employment, and income generation for small-scale farmers. Additionally, the rising consumer demand for natural and healthy products is driving the industry's expansion.

Despite these benefits, the coconut industry faces challenges such as climate change, price volatility, and the need for sustainable practices. Dr. Jelfina called for integrated technology to enhance production efficiency, improve product quality, and explore new market opportunities, aligning with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Low-income farmers in the coconut industry face a complex set of challenges that can make it difficult for them to improve their livelihoods and adapt to a changing climate and price volatility. Addressing these challenges will require collaboration between farmers, government agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders to develop innovative solutions that support farmers in building more resilient and sustainable livelihoods.

Dr. Siwaret Arikit from Kasetsart University and chair of ICC-COGENT International thematic action group 4 presented an innovative product: the first coconut variety developed through MAS breeding, soon to be released. Named the "Cloud" variety, it features 100% aroma and 100% macapuno content. ICC is delighted with this research outcome, which will benefit farmers and all stakeholders.

ICCO 2024 provided a platform for stakeholders to engage in insightful discussions, learn from industry experts, and explore innovative solutions for the future of the coconut industry. The conference underscored the importance of collaboration, technology, and sustainability in creating a resilient and inclusive coconut value chain.


After the conference, participants visited a smart aromatic coconut farm and Tropicana Pvt Ltd, a coconut processing company, gaining insights into advanced farming techniques and processing technologies. ICC officials, such as Mrs. Erlene Manohar, Cogent Coordinator, and Dr. Siwaret Arikit, ITAG Leader and former ICC Assistant Director, Mrs. Wilaiwan Twishsri shared their expertise, further enriching the conference discussions as resource speakers. 

The conference concluded with a commitment to harness technology and collaboration to benefit coconut farmers and the global coconut industry, ultimately enhancing consumer well-being.

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