Policy and Financial support for Developing Coconut Value Added Products
Policies affect not only individual agricultural enterprises but also the whole sector either locally or internationally. Policy support by the government positively affects infrastructure (road, export port, warehouse), technology, cooperative structuring, and innovation. Policy support for ensuring coconut as a high priority program in the national development plan can promote the success of increasing coconut production, thereby ensure enough raw- and supporting materials for coconut industries. In some countries such as India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines, the governments authorize particular institutions to support all program and activities from the planning program to the implementation of the coconut sector development, which include but are not limited to research and development, human resources development, policy, certification, the upstream to the downstream activities, trade, and promotion. Coconut development policy in India is mandated to the Coconut Development Board (CDB), which is under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare; Coconut Development Authority (CDA) and Coconut Cultivation Board (CCB) in Sri Lanka functions under the Ministry of plantation industry; Philippines Coconut Authority (PCA) in the Philippines works under the office of the President in 2014, and then it is placed under the Department of Agriculture in 2018.
The role of researchers in research institutes, research canters, agencies, and universities is very crucial in generating innovative products, technologies, policies, and regulations. Policy and financial supports to their research agenda for generating new products, new technologies or new policies are needed for industry development. Based on annual reports by ICC member countries, 10-50% of existing coconut palms have reached the senile age of 60 years and are showing a declining level of productivity to as low as 40% compared to younger palms. Without a structured effort in the replanting of senile palms, there will be an inevitable decline in production.
Policy support to encourage joint ventures promotes local and foreign investments, and Public-Private Partnership, tax incentives, tariffs, machinery and equipment importation, and product export are needed. Government regulation policy to regulate financial incentives and access to credit assistance especially for MSMEs to the replanting senile palm program is important. Access to funding is essential for the development of agribusiness. Countries creating a favorable financial environment tend to have high-performing and competitive agricultural businesses. In addition to the formal regulations, voluntary agreements are also important to encourage policy implementation. Government can encourage the private sector in replanting senile palms with good quality and elite planting materials through their respective CSR programs, so generating desirable social impacts. Financial support should also include professional guidance on producing good quality of products, packaging, branding, certification, and marketing.
DR. JELFINA C. ALOUW