In response to the International Coconut Community (ICC) letter to the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic of Costa Rica, inviting Costa Rica to become a full member of ICC, a virtual courtesy meeting was held on 27 May 2021, with ICC Secretariat under the leadership of Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director, and His Excellency, Mr. H. E. Esteban Quirós Salazar, Head Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Costa Rica in Indonesia.
ICC team were included Dr. Ponciano A. Batugal, Chairman, ICC Technical Working Group (TWG); Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit Chairman, ICC Scientific Advisory Committee on Health (SACH); Mr. Vincent Johnson, ICC COGENT Coordinator; Ms. Mridula Kottekate Assistant Director, Mr. Klaudio D. Hosang, Administrative & Finance Officer, Mr. Alit Pirmansah Market & Statistics Officer, and Mr. Otniel Sintoro Publication Officer, of ICC.
Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw made a detailed presentation of ICC’s mission, activities, programs, and projects which included: Cocotech Conference; Session & Ministerial meeting; international certificate course, symposium, training, seminar, technical assistance, clinical trial on VCO against COVID-19, and harmonized quality standard of coconut products. ICC & COGENT build strategic networks and collaborations with several international organizations, such as ACIAR, UN-ESCAP, NAM-CSSTC, CIRAD, ITPGRFA-FAO, ITC, Pacific Community, CCA, BI-CIAT Alliances, Queensland University, SPC, CABI, and coconut research Institutes. She also mentioned various ICC publications accessible to member countries, encouraged Costa Rica’s government to consider coconut sector as one of the priority programs, and take the opportunity to be part of ICC member countries to achieve a safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable coconut community.
Mr. Vincent Johnson, ICC COGENT Coordinator presented the importance of coconut genetic resources conservation, COGENT history, overview, organization structure, and current status. He emphasized COGENT member countries' coconut production, which showed Latin America coconut production (8%) is relatively small compared to Asia (89%). Some of the programs suggested which can support coconut farmers in Costa Rica are replanting under coconut plantation, tissue culture methods, and technology transfer. He also addressed the global strategy in coconut genetic resources conservation, the main issues, and threats.
Dr. Ponciano A. Batugal, Chairman, ICC Technical Working Group (TWG), presented the Strategic Plan of ICC to help coconut farmers increase their productivity and income; to help the coconut industry become progressive and sustainable, the ICC priority projects for collaboration, which directly resulted in benefits of the farmers, potential collaboration that will benefit coconut producing countries and alliances/coalition member countries.
Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit Chairman, ICC Scientific Advisory Committee on Health (SACH) presented the role of the Committee for the support of ICC programs. Many of the principal products from coconut are healthy products. He added the role of SACH for the coordination of health initiatives among ICC member countries. In his closing statement, Mr. Salazar shared that as per the advice of his cardiologist he is a regular VCO user in his daily diet.
There was an in-depth discussion and Mr. Salazar assured further collaboration with ICC soon on discussion with the different Ministers of the Republic of Costa Rica. He proposed to organize a webinar in association with ICC on the topics after confirming with private and government sector representatives of the coconut sector of Costa Rica.
The meeting concluded with thanks to all participants.