A webinar on “Inclusive Coconut-Agribusiness Model” was conducted by the International Coconut Community (ICC) on 16th December 2021. The webinar was attended by more than 100 people virtually, from 19 countries.
The objectives of conducting this webinar are to share the rural coconut sugar-based business model, the integrated coconut agribusiness model and to discuss the challenges and potential of the coconut industry to support an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable partner development and the lives of millions of smallholder farmers, as well as to those in play involved in the production, processing and marketing of coconut products.
Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director delivered the welcome address, wherein she mentioned that the webinar was organized in responding to the ICC member countries’ request and the need to provide better insight and knowledge about the coconut industry from the various perspectives as well as to gain valuable information and the potency, challenges, and competitive advantage of investing in the coconut-based business. The forecast of the increased market demand draws our attention to fulfill market opportunity through a collective act of science, knowledge and experience sharing, and political will to regional, national, and global solidarity for technical, financial and institutional support to address challenges in all value chains. She wished for a fruitful webinar that will drive transformative action to the inclusive and sustainable industrial development in each member country.
Dr. Ir. Fadjry Djufry, M.Si, the Director General of Indonesia Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD), Ministry of Agriculture, Indonesia, delivered the opening remarks. He addressed that the establishment of coconut agroindustry could offer substantial growth in jobs and income, and thereby reducing poverty. The coconut sector has shared 0.1-3.5% of the GDP of several coconut-producing countries. IAARD through Indonesian Palm Crops Research Institute, Manado, Agricultural Post Harvest Research and Development, Bogor, and Assessment Institutes in 33 Provinces are working on some research and development of coconut and has released several superior coconut varieties and hybrids that have been distributed to smallholder farmers. Some collaboration with private industries to propagate the coconut also have been initiated. The IAARD are developing an integrated database application for estate crops that can provide valuable information using a mobile phone.
Ms. Lastiana Yuliandari, Founder and Director, Aliet Green, Yogjakarta, Indonesia, the first speaker a millennial women entrepreneur presented on “Sustainable Coconut Sugar Industry Impacts on the Economic, Social Life of Smallholder Farmers and the Environment: A Case Experience of Aliet Green Company”. Aliet Green produces coconut sugar with 90% female workers and 1% farmers with disability. Aliet Green supplies its products to some reputable organic food and beverage manufacturers, and private labels for an organic retailer or supermarket chain. As the consumer now are concerned on certification, Aliet Green has received some certificates including organic and fair trade certificates. Ms. Lastiana also mentioned about the risks faced by Aliet Green in this sector, including supply chain complexity, training, consistency and commitment. The company has received However, their effort to achieve Sustainable Development Goals through empowering female workers and reducing the poverty of farmers is quite challenging. Insufficient productive coconut palms, young people and skilled tappers are some of the challenges that must be solved.
Mr. Tomas B. Medina, Consultant, President and CEO, Brand Exports, the Philippines, presented on “Business Model for Integrated Coconut-Based Products: From the Initial Concept to Market Success”. He described the business model for small, medium, and large processing enterprises in coconut sugar, such as availability of coconut areas that are dedicated to coconut sap collection, availability of workers, method, technology, consider by-products to be value-added, the requirement of health or other certification, quality and marketing of products, the challenges to be a stable and sustainable enterprise. These challenges could be solved by some models: diversity and equity, sustainability, inclusion, private and government sector partnership.
The last speaker Dr. Anitha Karun, Director, ICAR-Central Plantation Crop Research Institute (CPCRI), India, presented “Inclusive Agribusiness Model for Coconut”. She addressed that the coconut sector has the potential to support many rural businesses. Some of them have much export potential also. The availability of raw materials, technology and low capital investment make the sector most ideal for resource-poor farmers and first-time entrepreneurs. She also mentioned that in recent years, the Government of India is providing many incentives for the promotion of rural business that are incentives for food processing units and promoting one district one product, and now applied in more than 20 districts in India.
The closing remarks of the webinar was delivered by Mr. Benjamin Madrigal, Administrator, PCA, Chair, ICC Technical Working Group. He appreciated ICC secretariat for the initiative to conduct the webinar and other capacity building. He addressed that the sustainability of the enterprises cannot be done solely by the National Agricultural Departments but needs support by other national agencies.
There was an in-depth discussion on the topics, and the speakers addressed the queries. The webinar was moderated by Ms. Mridula Kottekate, Assistant Director, ICC.