His Excellency Mr. Juan Camilo Valencia Gonzales Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia to Indonesia visited the secretariat of the International Coconut Community (ICC), Jakarta, Indonesia. He was accompanied by Ms. Nelsy Raquel Munar Jaramillo, Deputy Head of Mission, and Second Secretary Mr. Juan Pablo Osorio. Mr. Valencia and the team were received by Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, ICC Executive Director, and Secretariat team.
In her welcome address, Dr. Jelfina expressed that this is the beginning of the relationship between ICC and the Republic of Colombia and ICC is looking forward to strengthening the relationship. Executive Director then proceeded with a presentation explaining the activities of ICC and related information. Executive Director mentioned the different benefits extended by ICC to the member countries and the programs and projects in which the member countries can be a part. The different programs in which Colombia can participate shortly. She added that due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic many of the scheduled programs of ICC for the current year 2020 had to postpone. But ICC is conducting webinars in association with the ICC Technical Working Group, Scientific Advisory Committee on Health, and COGENT on the present problems of the coconut industry around the Globe. Executive Director informed that Colombia is already a member of COGENT and can be benefitted from COGENT programs.
Dr. Jelfina in her presentation briefed the current market scenario where the demand for coconut products is high but supply to not enough to meet the demand. The challenges faced by the coconut industry were explained in detail. One of the major challenges is the availability of senile and old palm. Some of the major coconut growing countries have initiated the replanting program with quality planting materials. Another challenge is pests and diseases which infesting the coconut plantations and reducing the yield. COGENT through the International Thematic Action Group is taking necessary measures to manage the problem. ICC always trying to fight against the negative campaigns of coconut oil by issuing rebuttal Papers to the American Heart Association’s Presidential Advisory. Coordinating with WHO and FAO to discuss with the experts against such a campaign. The ICC aims to promote the goodness of coconut through wide publicity in collaboration with member countries.
There was in-depth interaction with the Ambassador. Mr. Gonzales appreciated the activities and programs taken up by ICC and express his happiness to be part of the community. Ambassador added that he had a discussion with the Ministry of Agriculture of Colombia, and they are taking necessary actions with the other supporting department to proceed further in this regard. Mr. Ambassador informed that Colombia is having a small area under coconut i.e. 22, 500 ha with a production of 145,600 Million nuts during 2019. The people of Colombia are very fond of coconut and its byproducts but due to low production, it is difficult to meet even the local demand, and price also quite high. Ambassador presented Coconut Candy manufactured in Colombia to Executive Director as a token of appreciation.
Ambassador shared that Colombia has executed a bilateral agreement with the Republic of Indonesia titled “peace for agriculture”. Under this agreement, Colombia can exchange technical knowhow with Indonesia. Moreover, there is no law and restrictions enforced in the Republic of Colombia for foreign investment, so it is very easy for any investor to set up any units related to coconut and value-added products in Colombia. Ambassador further suggested that a webinar can be arranged in collaboration with ICC inviting the Ministry of Agriculture, Colombia, Universities, and private coconut stakeholders of Colombia and Indonesia for exchanging the possibilities of setting up of units in Colombia and requirements to become ICC member. He said he will convey the outcome of the meeting with ICC to the Government of Columbia for further collaboration.
Executive Director ICC advised that if the Ambassador is interested to visit the Coconut value-added product manufacturing units then ICC can facilitate the visit for him in different parts of Indonesia. She presented the different publications of ICC to Ambassador. The meeting ended with thanks to the Ambassador and his team.