On September 2nd, member countries of ICC celebrated World Coconut Day (WCD), marking the establishment of the ICC. This annual commemoration serves as a tribute to the vital economic and environmental role that coconuts play in the lives of millions of people including coconut farmers and their families, industries and consumers around the world. WCD festivities feature a variety of activities and events. These include exhibitions showcasing the latest coconut products and technologies, educational workshops and training, and cultural performances that reflect the deep cultural significance of coconut in many societies.
The World Coconut Day 2023 Celebration, was successfully conducted in Gorontalo Regency, Indonesia, 21-25 September 2023. The theme for this year WCD was Sustaining Coconut Sector for the Present and Future Generation.
There were 30 exhibitors from private sectors and government agencies showcased their activities. Around 300 participants including international participants from countries like PNG, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, US, UK and France attended the five days event. Thousands of local visitors including the school children enthusiastically visited the exhibition booths. Different competitions were also organized during the celebration.
The Opening Ceremony was held on 21 September 2023. Welcome address were delivered by Prof. Dr. Nelson Pomalingo, Regent of Gorontalo and Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director, ICC. Keynote Speech were delivered by Prof. Dr. Ir. Fadel Muhammad, Deputy Chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly, Republic of Indonesia.
In her address, Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director, ICC, mentioned that World Coconut Day is a significant moment in appreciating farmers, business actors, researchers, producers, coconut organizations and all coconut stakeholders in collective efforts to create a sustainable, resilient and more competitive coconut sector. It is a recognition of the coconut's contribution economically, socially, and environmentally. The enormous potential of coconut still needs to be explored to be utilized optimally for the benefit of farmers, society, and the nation. Challenges significantly impacting on decreasing coconut production. Tariff and non-tariff barriers in the global market require appropriate policy and regulatory support. The world changing and demand shifting requires us to proactively adapt to the new trends and prices and industry standards.
H.E. Dr. Suharso Monoarfa, Head of the National Development Planning Agency, Republic of Indonesia, Minister of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), officially inaugurated the International Coconut Conference, on 23 September. He mentioned that Indonesia's economic growth in the future is very much depend on coconut and its value added products especially from Gorontalo province. According to him, Gorontalo used to be filled with coconut trees in majority of the area but now the scenario has changed and Gorontalo lacks coconut trees. Besides Indonesia now facing a climate crisis and biodiversity loss. He has convinced the people of Gorontalo to go for more planting of coconut trees to solve this problem.
Many speakers spoken in the conference including four international speakers. Ms. Mridula Kottekate, Assistant Director, ICC, on behalf of Dr. Jelfina C.Alouw, Executive Director, ICC presented “Role and Contributions in Achieveing a Sustainable, Resilient and Highly Competitive Coconut Sector”. Dr. Fabian Dayrit, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Health, ICC, presented on the theme “Sustaining Coconut Sector for the Health of the Present and Future Generation”. Dr. Julian Conway McGill, Agricultural Economist, Glenauk Economics, presented “The Many Uses of the Coconut”. Dr. Rico O. Cruz, Scientist & Consultant, Philippine Coconut Authority presented “Coconut, the Tree of Renewable Energy and Source of Non-food Products”. Dr. Titiek Setyawati, Head of Country Director, Wildlife Conservation Society, presented “Coconut & Conservation”. Mr. H. Asep Jembar Mulyana, CEO, Tom Cococha Indonesia, presented “Moving Towards Sustainable Coconut by Utilizing Coconut Charcoal Derivative Products”. Mr. Ade Rizki Hermawan (DEKINDO) presented “Sustainable Coconut Farm Management: Lesson learned based on smallholder farmers intercrop practice” and Dr. Daniele Manzella, ITPGR FAO presented on Protocols and Policy Guidance for setting up of International Coconut Genebank.
Some of the Conference findings crafted are the need to stabilize the supply and improve the quality of coconut utilizing intensification (rejuvenation and replanting using high-yielding varieties), GAP, pest control, intercropping, the downstream and product diversification, GI-organic certification, implementation of GHP and GMP, development of farmer institutional, innovation and global market access: product innovation, increasing product competitiveness, diversifying export markets, The diversification of non-food coconut products development is an important added-value strategy in the coming days.
On 24 September, Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw and Prof. Dr. Nelson Pomalingo laid the foundation stone for the establishment of the World Coconut Garden, as part of the conservation of coconut germplasm, education, research, new hybrid development, and tourist attractions in Huyula Village. This is one of the initiative of the Gorontalo province government.The direct benefit of this garden will go to the coconut farmers. This is also one of the collaboration between businessmen, government, academics, students, young people including farmers, SMEs and cooperatives.
A training program was also conducted by the Indonesia National Research and Innovation Agency and other institutions to coconut farmers and processors. The training program included hands-on workshops, interactive sessions, and practical demonstrations. This aimed to enhance the skills and knowledge of participants, contributing to the sustainable growth of the coconut industry.
The five day event ended on 25th September with the formal Closing Ceremony. The winners of the WCD 2023 Competition were announced and facilitated. Closing remarks were delivered by Ms. Mridula Kottekate, Assistant Director, ICC and Prof. Dr. Ir. H. Nelson Pomalingo, M.Pd., Experience shared by the International delegate Mr. Alan Aku, Managing Director, Kokanas Indastri Koperesan (KIK), and National Liasion Officer (NLO), ICC for Papua New Guinea and Dr. Rico Cruz representing coconut community from the Philippines.