The Samarinda State Agricultural Polytechnic (Politani Samarinda) and the Coalition of Coconut Producing Districts (Koalisi Kabupaten Penghasil Kelapa/KOPEK) held the Coconut Conservation Conference with the theme “Coconut for Conservation and Conserving World Coconut”, at Novotel Hotel, Balikpapan 29-30 June 2022. The event was attended by central and local governments, coconut industries, MSME business actors, academics, coconut activists, university students, and coconut farmers, with the purpose to build national and international awareness of the importance of conserving coconut commodities and germplasm, the use of coconut in land rehabilitation, and environmental conservation efforts. Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director, ICC, was invited as the keynote speaker at the event.
In his opening remarks, Prof. Dr. Ir. H. Nelson Pomalinggo, M. Pd., Chairman, KOPEK, offers coconut as a solution to environmental problems in Kalimantan and Indonesia. This is because coconuts can grow on less fertile land used for mining activities, such as in East Kalimantan. Coconuts can improve the soil. As a contribution and support for the upcoming new Indonesian Capital City (Ibukota Nusantara-IKN), KOPEK will plant all Indonesian coconut varieties in the conservation area, the Borneo Orangutan Samboja Foundation (BOSF), located in the IKN. This area will be used as the center of the archipelago's germplasm. In the next five years, this coconut garden could become a coconut agro-tourism area in IKN.
The Coconut Conference received appreciation from Hon. Minister Suharso Monoarfa, Ministry of National Development Agency of Republic, Indonesia, represented by the Director of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Anang Nugroho. He appreciated the enthusiasm of the members of KOPEK, by which the “coconut comeback” could be revived. He explained that although Indonesia's coconut production continued to decline, according to 2020 data, coconut exports is high and become the largest foreign exchange earner in Indonesia. He hoped that this conference could provide ideas to rejuvenate coconuts, and encourage the conservation of Indonesian coconuts
The Conference commenced with the national anthem and traditional East Kalimantan Dance. Dr. Heriad Daud Salusu, S. Hut., M.P, Committee Head delivered his report. The Opening Speech by Mr. Hamka S.TP., M. Sc., M.P., DIrector, Politani, Samarinda; and Mr. Ujang Rahmat, M. Si., Head of Plantation, East Kalimantan Province on behalf of Dr. Ir. H. Isran Noor, M. Si., Governor of East Kalimantan Province. There were five keynote speakers presented in the first session.
The first Keynote Speaker, Prof. Dr. Ir. H. Nelson Pomalinggo, M. Pd., Chairman, KOPEK, presented the role of KOPEK in bringing back the greatness of Indonesian Coconut. He explained challenges in the coconut sector, which included coconut land decreases due to land conversion, low rejuvenation, low productivity, pest and diseases, climate change, and coconut farmers’ socioeconomic. He proposed the need for a coconut authority agency that is farmers and business-oriented, adaptive, and inclusive. And he also explained the role of KOPEK in coconut genetic conservation.
The second keynote speaker, Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, after introducing the ICC Profile, presented the coconut genetic resources conservation and use, wherein she explained the ICC’s promoting efforts to increase coconut productivity and production, capacity building and technology transfer (tissue culture), the importance of coconut genetic conservation and use, Indonesian and global coconut contribution, Indonesian and global export trend and production, the International coconut gene banks, ongoing ICC’s projects programs, challenges, and way forward.
Ir. Yohanes Samosir P., Dip. Agr. St. Ph.D., Advisor, Coconut Knowledge Center, presented on the coconut world concept, a coconut-based park for tourism, research education, and promotion to integrate various coconut potentials in appealing ways as an agro-tourism destination as well as contributing to society and coconut farmers. Integrated coconut garden and processing, culinary, tour, festival, and museum.
Dr. Steivie Karouw, S. Tp., M. Sc., Head of Indonesian Palm Crops Research Institute, presented the coconut genetic resources conservation in Indonesia wherein she presented the current status of coconut genetic resources, several Indonesian superior and high yielding varieties, coconut seed production at some provinces, a future scenario of coconut conservation and sustainable development, and action plan. She emphasized the urgency of collaboration between research institutes, the private sector, universities, and ICC member countries to accelerate the mass propagation of coconut seeds with high-yielding varieties.
Mr. Awaluddin Djafar, Treasurer, Indonesian Husk Association (AISKI), presented on the processing of the coconut husk. The three main value-added coconut products he produced are coco peat for plant media, coco fiber for geotextile, and baby fiber for fertilizer.
The last keynote speaker, Mr. Viraj Bagaria, Director, T&I Global, India, presented on the value addition and processing solutions for the coconut industry, wherein he explained how to set up processing factories to convert coconut into value-added products.
There was a second parallel session with various topics besides the coconut sector. One of which is on the digital marketing platform for coconut products that connect coconut farmers and buyers, either in B2B or B2C platforms, and the formation of the National Coconut Council.
Along with the Conference, KOPEK also declared Indonesian coconuts as an archipelago crop and developed sustainably, at the epicentrum of Indonesian Capital City (Ibukota Nusantara/IKN) on June 30, 2022. Seven regents and two vice-regents signed up for the Declaration: Prof. Dr. Ir. H. Nelson Pomalingo, M. Pd, (Gorontalo Regency), Ir. H. Hamdam Pongrewa (Penajem Paser Utara Regency), Dr. Rinny Tamuntuan (Sangihe Regency), H. Mursil S.H., M. Kn (Aceh Tamiang Regency), Femmy Luther, S. KM. (Nagan Raya Regency), Ilham Lawidu, S.H. (Vice Regent of Tujo Una-Una Regency), H.M, Jamin Idham, S.E. (Nagan Raya Regency), H. Muhammad Adil, S.H. (Meranti Islands Regency), Fahrur Rofi (Vice Regent of Sambas Regency). Also signed up the Declaration were H. Hassani, S.P., M.MA (Head of Agricultural Agency, Polewali Mandar Regency), and Hamka, S.Tp, M.Sc, M.P. (Politani Samarinda Director). The purpose of the declaration is to gain support for coconut as the one of the national priority programs.