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Webinar on Best Practices for Coconut Husk Product Development: From Initial Concepts to Market Success

Continuing with the second phase of the implementation of the MOU between ICC and NAM-Center, the first webinar of CY 2021 organized on “Best Practices for Coconut Husk Product Development: from Initial Concepts to Market Success”  on 8th June 2021. There were 298 registered participants which included representatives from the ICC and NAM-CSSTC countries, scientists, UNDP staff, senior officials, private sectors, stakholders and farmers.

Dr. Jelfina C. AlouwExecutive Director, ICC, delivered the welcome speech. She mentioned that by organizing and implementing such programs, ICC Secretariat ensures its commitment to serve member countries to achieve ICC’s vision of improving the socio-economic welfare of the farmers and other stakeholders in the vibrant coconut sector. The objectives of this webinar are to raise awareness that coconut husk can be feasibly processed into a variety of marketable profitable products and market demand for coconut-based products is increasing and projection for future growth is stronger. Ironically, with the global production of 67.5 billion nuts, about 90% of the coconut husk in most coconut producing countries is disposed of as waste, and only a small portion has been processed into profitable, durable, healthy, and eco-friendly products.

She also highlighted the involvement of the millennials and women as entrepreneurs in the coconut sector. Two of the resource speakers are millennial and woman who are involved in the coconut coir business. The millennials generation and others are expected to make a profound contribution to achieve sustainable development goals and sustaining the coconut sector. The use of choir-based products becomes an alternative to save the environment and to save the world. She hoped that the webinar inspired ideas and discussions around the development of a business plan for coconut husk-based products, for the local and global market, for the benefit of coconut farmers and their families and supporting the resilience and sustainable coconut industry.

In his opening speech, His Excellency Mr. Mahendra Siregar, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, appreciated the high-level engagement and exchanges between experts with the technical skills and deep knowledge, in enhancing the capacity of the coconut stakeholders, exchanging across countries, generation, involving all levels of background and professions.  The foreign ministry hoped that other series of collaboration will continue in the future, as a result of the MoU between the NAM-Center and ICC. Besides technical and experience exchanges between multi-stakeholders in this industry, the event also focused on the sustainability of the industry and value chains.

He encouraged the ICC and NAM Centre to continue exploring the opportunities for the stakeholders of the coconut industry to increase the standard and achieving the sustainability levels, with various technology and research.  He wished that the participants could optimize the event for their knowledge and benefits, as well as to strengthen the momentum of collaboration and partnership.

The topic of Economic and Environmental Impacts of processing of Coconut Husk-based products” was presented by two speakers. The first speaker, Silvia Ten Houten, Founder GoodHout, the Netherland, underlined the company’s values in gender equality, fair-trade supply chain with suppliers, an educational fund for children,  continuous education for local employees,  and the company’s impact on 10 of 17 UN SDGs. She urged the action required to increase sustainability and combat climate change. She also presented the production process of various innovative products from husk as an alternative to wood, applied to home interior, automotive, fashion, and accessories which features a high-end and natural finish.

The second speaker, Galih Batara Muda, founder of Roemah Kelapa Indonesia, presented “Impacts of Processing of Coconut Husk-Based Products”. Started with the overview of coconut and husk potential, and explained the serious impact of coconut husk burning and coconut problem in Indonesia. This is the reason why we need innovation, collaboration, technology, investment, and marketing in the husk innovative products, such as a husk face mask.

Mr. A. RadhakrishnanAssistant Director, National Coir Training and Design Centre, Coir Board of India, presented “Processing and Development of Coconut Husk-based Products”,  in which he explained the overview of coir industry in India, which is a traditional, labor-intensive, export-oriented agro-industry, employs more than half a million people in a rural area with about 80% are women. India exported coir to more than 122 countries. The Coir Board was set up for sustainable development of the coir industry, encouraging scientific, technological, and economic research, quality improvement, human resources development, the welfare of those engaged in the industry, and market promotion. He also presented various creative products such as furniture, floor mat, coir wood house, geo-textile, and other value-added coir products, also the training provided by the institution.

Mr. S. K. GowthamanConsultant and exporter of Coir Based products, India, presented, “Manufacture and Export of Coir and Coir-based Products, Hydroponic”.  He mentioned that the number of plastic waste generated worldwide which is estimated at 1.6 million ton per day and about 900 million trees are cut down annually. Coir is an alternative eco-friendly substitute to plastic in our daily use, such as toothbrushes, doormats, furniture, gardening, packing materials, and children's toys. He also focused on  various coco pith products used for hydroponics, medical value plant seed, germination or propagation, enrich coco pith manure, and grow bags for soilless cultivation. The coco pith is advisable and suitable for home gardening.

The last speaker was exceptional because she was a millennial generation. Ms. Febiola Efriani, Vice President, Mahligai Indococo Fiber, PT Indonesia, presented “Marketing Scope of Coconut Husk-based Products”, based on her experience in leading the company. The company has been optimizing the digital marketing platforms for the domestic and international markets. Continued with the company’s overview, marketing strategies, and competitive advantages, SWOT analysis, and various value-added coco pith products of PT MIF for different countries' markets. A video of the coco pith production process was also played.

From the ICC Secretariat, Mr. Alit Pirmansah, Marketing and Statistics Officer, presented a brief marketing data of the global production of coir fiber, export and import demand of coir products, and coir prices fluctuation.

Mr. Ambassador Diar NurbintoroActing Director, NAM CSSTC, delivered the closing remarksHe expressed that this event was a significant opportunity for emphasizing the link between sustainable development of coconut sector. Negative campaigns against coconut have a significant negative influence on agriculture, the development of coconut and the farmer’s livelihoods. Plantations have been neglected and abandoned at the farmer level; production is barely sufficient to support the basic needs of the farmers. Many farmers still live in poverty. Collaboration between all the stakeholders will lead to greater force in defending coconut against the negative campaign. The diversification and promotion of eco-friendly coconut farming are essential to assist coconut farmers in struggling and sustaining their businesses. Coconut is therefore always an important topic for NAM Centre’s activities to remind of the efforts should be taken to encourage coconut farmers and enhance their livelihood.

There was in-depth discussion on the topics, and the speakers addressed the queries. The webinar was moderated by Dr. Dedie Tooy, Head of Agricultural Technology Department Faculty of Agriculture, Sam Ratulangi University and member of ICC Technical Working Group.

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