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World Coconut Day 2020 Celebrations

The World Coconut Day on 2nd September 2020 was  celebrated with the theme “Invest in coconut to save the world”. The outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic forced all to celebrate this day remotely which connected the coconut family around the globe with a different experience.

World coconut day has its significance in the international community. The main objective of celebrating this day is to create worldwide awareness about coconut usage, positive attributes of coconut products, show people how important this palm to million people, and attract support from stakeholders. This article will summarize the celebrations in 2019-2020 around the world.

International Coconut Community, Jakarta, Indonesia

To mark the occasion of World Coconut Day International Coconut Community, Jakarta, Indonesia, organized the webinar with the theme “Invest in Coconut to Save the World”. More than 200 participated remotely across the globe, including the representatives from ICC and Cogent Member Countries, research institutes, private sectors, and international partner organizations of ICC.

In his opening remarks from the Honorable Lopaoó Natanielu Muá, Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries, Samoa, ICC Chairman, encouraged the country government to support this crop and design more programs in their countries. He focused on the sustainable development of the coconut sector and maintaining the coconut plantations with proper management practices, develop advanced technologies to increase productivity and to compete with the growing demand for planting materials.

Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director, ICC, wishes everybody a happy World Coconut Day 2020 and informed that this year's theme very well goes with the present scenario of Covid-19, which affected the sector. She acknowledged the support of the member countries and other international partner organizations for the smooth functioning of the Community and she assured that in the future we unite for the sustainable development of the sector.

The technical presentation started with Dr. Mary Newport, a Neonatologist from Florida, USA on the Health Benefits of Coconut Oil and how coconut oil helps manage Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Dr. Fabian Dayrit, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Ateneo de Manila University & Chairman ICC Scientific Advisory Committee on Health (SACH) presented the concept of the World coconut day i.e., we need the coconut to save the world. He presented the beneficial effects of Virgin Oil and its characteristics. Dr. Toby explained the scientific reasons to rebut against the negative impacts and the use of VCO against the COVID-19 and potential attributes of coconut oil. Dr. Pons, Chair, ICC Technical Working Group, briefly presented the ICC strategic plan and programs. The vision of ICC was explained. He focused on the potential projects to be taken for the sustainable development of coconut. The last speaker was Mr. Asep, Chief Executive Officer, Tom Coco, Indonesia, spoke on Save the World by Coconut Charcoal. Charcoal is the healthiest source of bioenergy, having numerous uses and we can save the environment by not cutting the forest by using coconut shell.

There was an in-depth discussion of the topics presented. The webinar was moderated by Mr. Vincent Johnson, Interim COGENT coordinator, ICC. The webinar concluded with a closing summary by Ms. Mridula Kottekate, Assistant Director, ICC.

World Coconut Day in Sri Lanka

The Coconut Research Institute, Coconut Cultivation Board and Coconut Development Authority of Sri Lanka jointly observed the World Coconut Day on 2nd September 2020. Along with other program the Sri Lankan coconut authorities awarded Nestle at an official event on World Coconut Day, in recognition of its high foreign exchange contribution as one of the world’s largest exporters of coconut milk powder, and the strategic planning support extended to the government to help promote the Sri Lankan coconut industry.

Nestle supports more than 9,000 local coconut farming families through its business. The award was jointly conferred to the company by the chief guest of the event Hon. Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, the Minister of Plantations, in the presence of Hon. Mr. Arundhika Fernando, the State Minister of the Ministry of Plantations, and Mr. Jayantha Wickremasinghe, Chairman of the all three authorities i.e., Coconut Development Authority, Coconut Cultivation Board, and Coconut Research Institute.

The other highlight of the program included opening a business incubation facilitation unit for coconut research; release of new coconut hybrid variety; repellent against coconut red weevil; awarded appreciation plaques to the coconut value-added performer; smartphone app and seedling planting program at Bandrippuwa estate.

National Coconut Week Festival in The Philippine

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) launched this year’s month-long celebration of the 34th National Coconut Week in ceremonies at the PCA Auditorium in its Main office in Elliptical Road, Quezon City, 5th August 2020. PCA Administrator Benjamin Madrigal Jr said this year’s celebration aims to “heighten people’s awareness and appreciation for our industry’s promising contribution to our country’s economy and our people’s wellbeing”.

The celebrations be capped by a Webinar series to delve on various issues affecting the coconut industry and the farmers. The 5-day webinar series is in partnership with the Coalition for Agriculture Modernization in the Philippines, Inc. (CAMP), a SEC-registered non-stock and non-profit NGO whose volunteer members are from agriculture, agribusiness, industry, academic, government, professional groups and international organizations.

Extravagant Coconut Festivals in 2019

The World Coconut Day was celebrated quite lively during 2019 with many coconut festivals observed by most of the member countries. The celebrations that have given inspiration to the world how “the tree of life” have played an important role in our families. Here are some of the “sweet memories” of extravagant World Coconut Day celebrations in 2019.

World Coconut Day Celebration in India

India, as a significant coconut producer, is engage in coconut farming which comprises of 33% of total coconut farming in the world, celebrated the day across the countries, organized by Coconut Development Board on the theme “Coconut for Family Wellness” at Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar, Odisha and was chaired by Union Minister for Agriculture, H.E Shri Narendra Singh Tomar.

Farmers from all coconut growing states across the country and coconut-based entrepreneurs participated in the programme. A technical session was conducted for creating awareness on the goodness of coconut and also for equipping the farmers with the latest scientific practices in coconut management processing, value addition and export. It had the highest ever farmer participation of around 1.000 farmer from all coconut growing states across the country.

An exhibition, showcasing various innovative value-added coconut products and the latest technology in the sector, was also held. Besides the different regional office and state centre of Coconut Development Board also observed the World Coconut Day in the respective regions.

WCD was also celebrated at ICAR-Central Plantation Crops Research Institute, Kasaragod in association with Krishi Vigyan Kendra Kasaragod, Department of Agriculture Development & Farmer’s Welfare and CDB and at ICAR-CPCRI, Regional Station, Kayamkulam separately.  A district level seminar on scientific cultivation and processing technologies in coconut was organized in which 100 selected farmers who are member of Coconut Producer Societies from all the gram panchayats of Kasaragod district participated.

3rd International Coconut Festival, Karang Asem, Bali, Indonesia

In Bali, The Regent of Karangasem Regency organized the World Coconut Day Celebrations and 3rd Coconut Festival during 14-17 September 2019 at Sukasada Water Palace, Karangasem, with the theme of “Coconut Tourism and Economic Development”. The festival was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Ir. Nelson Pomalingo and Bupati, Gorontalo Regency in presence of Hon. I Gusti Ayu Mas Sumantri, S. Sos, Bupati Karangasem Regency. It was attended by representatives from countries including Hawaii USA, Tanzania, Hainan China, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste and the Philippines. It was also attended by the Regents who are members of KOPEK, Karangasem Regional Government, members of Karang Asem Regency Leaders Forum, coconut industry entrepreneurs, representatives from International Coconut Community, as well as farmers engaged in coconut plantations in Indonesia. The opening of the 2019 International Coconut Festival begins with the planting of coconuts by the participants in a location that will become a mini Indonesian coconut garden in future.

The festival included technical seminar; exhibition of coconut products and business meeting. Business interaction among different countries' participants mainly on supply of quality planting materials, fresh coconut and tender coconut water were held.

Coconut Festival in Papua New Guinea

The Kokonas Indastri Koporesen (KIK), PNG successfully organized its first coconut festival from 26-28 September 2019 at the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby. The purpose of the Coconut Festival was to provide an opportunity to showcase the potential of coconut industry of Papua New Guinea. Around 16 Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in the industry had showcased their products, ranging from body dress and decorations, housing, fuel, oil for cooking, beverages, cosmetics, biofuels, soaps, lotions, shampoos.

Seminar on selected subjects includes the nutritional and health benefits of coconut, processing some value-added coconut products, and developing coconut development aspects. Exhibitions of high-value coconut products, information on coconut processing equipment and machinery, technical knowledge and information including demonstration of virgin coconut oil processing and soap production was part of the festival.

International Coconut Community also actively participated in the exhibition by showcasing various high-value coconut products such as shoes and slippers made from coir, coconut sugar, nata de coco, coconut water and coconut milk in Tetra Pak containers, virgin coconut oil, and coconut chips. These value-added products become eye opener that coconut can produce and has potential in increasing the income of coconut farmers. To inculcate the love of coconut among children, various games were organized during the festival.

 2nd World Coconut Congress in the Philippines

United Coconut Associations of the Philippines (UCAP) organized the 2nd World Coconut Congress on 27-29 August at the SMX Convention Center, Manila. It was attended by more than 500 players, stakeholders and decision-makers representing the coconut sector around the world gathered to share and exchange the latest trends in the industry. Discussion among industry players, led by a stellar line up of industry experts from all over the world tackled topics such as: coconut production and value chain, non-traditional coconut products, lauric oleochemicals and new technologies, coconut solutions for health, food, industry & environment, the latest on coconut oil health research, marketing coconut food products, and ​coconut biodiesel.

The Conference was inaugurated by Mr. Dean Lao Jr. Chairman, United Coconut Associations of the Philippines and Keynote address delivered by Hon. William D. Dar, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Philippines. An exhibition was also arranged to showcase different company to a parade of local and overseas buyers. Offered services, present products for sampling to target market, processing machinery & equipment suppliers, producers of coco sugar, desiccated coconut, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil, VCO, bio diesel etc., testing & certification services, logistics services, design & packaging services, coconut processors, non-traditional products, trade associations, financial services.

2nd Biennial Pacific Week of Agriculture, Samoa

Government of Samoa through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries organised the Second Biennial Pacific Week of Agriculture (PWA) in Apia on the theme “Enhanced partnerships for Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry Systems in the Pacific.” Samoa has worked in partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to facilitate the PWA from the 30 September - 4 October 2019 at the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi Conference Centre, Apia.  The MAF’s annual Agriculture and Fisheries Show also hosted a main event that was open to the general public. Honourable Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Acting Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa, officially opened the 2nd Biennial Pacific Week of Agriculture, together with the annual Samoa Agriculture and Fisheries Show 2019, in Apia.

The week  provided knowledge-sharing platforms through side events hosted around Apia by Regional and International organizations such as the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, International Coconut Community, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Solomon Island, University of the South Pacific, Pacific Islands Farmers Organisation Network, Pacific Soil Partnership, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, International fund for Agricultural Development, Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation, Development Bank of Samoa.

5th Coconut Festival—Ben Tre Province-Vietnam

Ben Tre Coconut Association, Vietnam has successfully organised the 5th Coconut Festival from 16-20 November 2019 in Ben Tre Province in association with Ministry of Industry and Trade. The theme of the festival was “Coconut Trees on the Way of Integration and Sustainable Development”.  Mr. Do Thang Hai, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade who was the Chief Guest of the Festival. Different cultural performances were presented by the local artists showing the importance of coconut in their daily life. The inaugural program ended with fireworks display.

The festival was organized successfully for the first time in 2009 and has been expanded in scale and quality after four editions, it featured exhibitions on coconut products and trade fairs, along with a wide range of southern delicacies starring coconut as the main ingredient. Workshops focusing on brand building for Bến Tre coconut and “Value Chain of   Coconut   Trees” were also arranged within the event's framework. A key event was the Culture and Tourism Week highlighting Bến Tre as a cradle of coconuts. The activities included a fashion show of coconut costumes, coconut parade and trips to discover Bến Tre Province and field visit for the delegates also arranged.

International Coconut Community and the representatives of member countries included Sri Lanka; Indonesia; Thailand; and Malaysia was part of the festival. In the exhibition and fair ICC showcased the activities and publications.  Chiwadi Products co Ltd of Thailand and Area Farmers Organisation of Malaysia also showcased their products.  

Vanuatu Coconut Summit

Vanuatu Coconut Summit 2019 with the theme “Coconut for Better Future, was organised jointly by the Department of Industry of Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business (MTTIB) in close coordination with Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fishery and Biosecurity (MALFFB) at the Vanuatu Agricultural Research and Training Centre (VARTC) in Santo, the coconut export hub of Vanuatu.  The summit held from 30th October to 1st November 2019 at SANMA Chiefs Nakamal, Santo.

The Summit was inaugurated by his excellency Mr. Matai Seremaiah Nawalu, Vanuatu Agriculture Minister.  The summit attended by State Ministers, Directors, Senior Officials, Producer Cooperatives, Private Sector and coconut farmers. The plenary session mainly covered five sessions on Coconut Industry; Government support to Coconut Industry; Challenges inside the Coconut Industry; Investment Opportunities in coconut Industry and Research and Development Opportunities in coconut Industry.

The outcome of the Coconut Summit, which was the Interim evaluation of the implementation of the Vanuatu National Coconut Strategy 2016-2025 was adopted by all the participants, in the presence of Minister of Agriculture (MALFFB), Mr. Matai Seremaiah Nawalu, who confirmed that the Summit outcome would provide substantive inputs to a holistic coconut-sector development policy to be planned and implemented jointly by MALFFB and MTTIB.

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