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#504006 - 05/06/15 11:05 AM Coconut Industry Revitalization
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Caribbean Nations Prepare for Coconut Industry Revitalization

A $US3.9 million program aims to revive the once-thriving industry and tap into markets for coconuts and sought after coconut by-products.

From 1950 to 1980, the coconut industry was a vital agricultural subsector in the Caribbean.

However, from 1980 onward, production sharply declined due to pest and disease issues, competition from soybean oil, which resulted in the collapse of the copra industry.

But coconut has made a big comeback and demand for products such as coconut water, milk and oil has seen a boom.

Now, nine Caribbean countries stand to benefit from a US$3.9 million program to rejuvenate the industry.

“We recognise that the coconut subsector plays a very important role in our efforts to ensure that we have food and nutrition security very high on our list of priority areas for the development of agriculture in Saint Lucia … we want to continue to encourage the planting of acres and acres of fresh nuts and we do recognise that there is an opportunity there for employment and also for nutrition,” said Saint Lucia’s Agriculture Minister Moses Jn Baptiste.

The program is the result of collaboration between the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the International Trade Center (ITC) and the European Union.

Coconut farmers say it is a needed investment and there is room for creativity and marketing in the sector.

“Presently, it's only being sold in bottles, people only sell them in bottles. We could do it with ice and glasses. We could also use the jelly to do coconut with chilli, which I learned from a Mexican friend, so there are other initiatives we could use the market the coconut products much better,” said Marva Degalleries, a female coconut farmer.

The countries which will benefit from the program are Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

In a statement, CARDI said that in recent years the demand for coconuts and coconut by-products has skyrocketed both regionally and globally:

"Many Caribbean countries have been unable to satisfy this growing demand due to setbacks experienced by industries in the early 1980s. Principal among these have been the loss of international markets for traditional products, loss of consumer confidence, ageing populations and growing pest and disease problems."

Many Caribbean countries are pursuing agricultural diversification and the coconut industry is an important part of this drive.

TelesurTV


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#504575 - 05/26/15 10:51 AM Re: Coconut Industry Revitalization [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
The second phase of the Road Mapping workshops for the European Union (EU) funded “Coconut Industry development in the Caribbean” project is set to continue later this month. Project partners the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Geneva based International Trade Centre (ITC) will engage with industry stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Belize and Suriname to formulate road maps for market led development of the coconut and coconut products sectors. Utilizing a participatory approach stakeholders across the coconut value chain in each of the project countries will come up with road maps to address critical areas such as market options, production and productivity, support services and the policy environment among other areas. Specialists from within and outside the Region will also present on current market dynamics, performance requirements, plant material availability, new technologies and discuss with participants current Caribbean coconut supply dynamics. Development banks and potential financing partners will also be invited to participate, as they are key players in the industry’s growth and development.

Within recent years the demand for fresh coconut produce and coconut based health and beauty products have skyrocketed on both the regional and world markets. Unfortunately many of the Caribbean countries that once had a booming coconut subsector have been unable to satisfy this growing demand. From the 1980s onward production began to decline sharply as a result of loss of international markets for traditional products, ageing populations, loss of consumer confidence and growing pest and disease problems. CARDI Executive Director (Ag.) Bruce Lauckner is pleased for the support to revitalize the coconut industry in the Caribbean because of its “significant potential to contribute to economic development and poverty reduction in the benefitting countries.”



The “Coconut Industry development in the Caribbean” project is valued at 3.5 million Euros and is aiming to; enhance the competitiveness of small scale coconut farmers, through the identification of market opportunities and value chain development plans, develop better synergies between national and regional programmers, improve access to advisory services for improved production, processing, commercialization, financing and improve access to risk management instruments. This project is financed by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund and will be implemented in the CARIFORUM countries of Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

Industry stakeholders from Belize will meet at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development, Belmopan on 27 and 28 May, 2015 to develop their road map.

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#504647 - 05/28/15 10:57 AM Re: Coconut Industry Revitalization [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

In Love With The Coco(nut)

Coconuts: You can find vendors selling them on the roadside all over the country. And for those who don’t like to buy, it’s not too hard to grow a coconut tree or two in your yard. Indeed, the tree is rugged, hardy and durable, designed by nature to withstand hurricanes, and to find nutrients in even the poorest soil – even on the beach.

That’s why it is referred to as the Tree of Life and today a stakeholder workshop was held to discuss ways to improve and boost the coconut industry in Belize. We met with several of the coordinators today at the George Price Centre in Belmopan and they told us about the setbacks and solutions in this nascent industry:

Anil Sinha - CARDI Country Representative

"Today’s main thing is stakeholders consultation. Which they will discussing the the stakeholders what are their needs, what are their challenges and what needs to be done. And based on that a follow up programme will be developed in 4 steps: marketing, production and productivity, information access and some financial also."

Courtney Weatherburne

"When you say you are going to meet with stakeholders in the coconut industry and find ways to improve the industry, what do you mean by that? Improve it how?"

Manuel Trujillo - Focal Point, Belize Coconut Industry

"The main stakeholders here are involved in the planning and consultation process are processors, investors. You have growers, producers and other people who are involved in value adding. Now in terms of the industry - the industry is growing very fast. There's a lot of investment right now - we have over 2,000 acres of coconut in production in the country. Last year, based on the statistics that we from the ministry is about 8 million nuts that we produce. But that is expected to double. One of the limitations is that we do not have enough planting materials in the country. So we are importing from Mexico, hybrid varieties. The investors are there, they are putting in their money and they're growing the industry."

Maurice Wilson - CARDI, Monitoring and Evaluation

"The objective of the project is to prepare the regional and national industries for takeoff. There is lot of work to be done, the industry at the moment is reasonably disorganised, plagued by pests diseases and need for alternative varieties based on the different product niches. So, this project merely seeks to set the foundation upon which the resuscitation of the regional industry could be based."

It is a 4 year regional project. Workshops have been concluded in Jamaica, Trinidad, and the Dominican Republic, among others. It is being funded by the EU and the total cost for the regional project is 3.5 million Euros.

Channel 7


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#504785 - 06/01/15 08:31 PM Re: Coconut Industry Revitalization [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

NATIONAL STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION ON REGIONAL COCONUT INDUSTRY

Formation of Belize Coconut Stakeholder Platform

On 27 and 28 May 2015 Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and International Trade Centre (ITC) hosted a two day consultation workshop with more than 50 coconut industry stakeholders at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development, Belmopan. Mr. Ian Sayers, Head Product Sector Development, of the ITC traveled from Geneva, Switzerland to oversee and facilitate discussions on the targeted revival and expansion of Belize’s coconut industry, assisted by Mr. Maurice Wilson, Head Resource Mobilisation Unit from CARDI’s head office and Dr. Compton Paul, Coordinator of the CARDI/ITC Coconut Program. Mr. Anil Sinha, CARDI’s Country Representative in Belize, gave the opening address and chaired the opening ceremony. Mr. Roberto Harrison, Chief Agriculture Officer, Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA) gave the feature address.

Participating were members of MNRA, Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA), Belize Bureau of Standards, Beltraide, Foreign Trade Directorate, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), International Regional Organization for Health in Agriculture (OIRSA), Development Finance Corporation (DFC) as well as many coconut stakeholders representing local coconut producers and processors, small and large, and the media.

The European Union (EU) has contracted ITC to oversee the implementation of a 4 year, 3.5 Million Euro project in the CARIFORUM coconut countries of Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. CARDI will partner with ITC in these efforts. CARDI is especially responsible for the agricultural productivity component of the project. One of the first phases of the project is to engage with national stakeholders to formulate road maps for market led development of the products sector, as well as to agree on implementation plans. To achieve this CARDI and ITC hosted value chain development road mapping workshops in the various project countries including Belize.

Since 1980’s there has been a decline in coconut production in Belize and worldwide, mainly due to loss of international market due to promotion of negative health impacts and problems from pests and diseases. However, the market situation has changed in recent years. Coconut and its derivatives are now regarded as being beneficial to human health and wellness. There was a 700% increase between 2008 and 2014, in the world demand for coconut products, especially green coconut water, milk, cold-pressed virgin oil, fibers and cosmetics. Belize and the other CARIFORUM countries are keen to meet some of those market demands. Every district in Belize has coconut producers and processors, and the opportunities in this sector are large for both domestic and export products. A coconut growers and processors association is expected to be formed shortly. Tasks for that association will likely include identifying current coconut farmers/processors and setting up a communications framework, encouraging new farmers and processors to join the sector, identifying and locating financing, transmitting market intelligence and business model information, extension assistance in partnership with MNRA in identification and selection of commercial coconut varieties, nursery standard setting and expansion and training in many areas including commercial agronomic practices, changes to working practices and processing for value-added products, marketing and lobbying for supportive government of Belize (GOB) policies.

The attendees at the consultation vigorously voiced their opinions and concerns, which were recorded on wall charts, aimed at exposing the known and anticipated strengths, weaknesses, risks, needs and directions of producers and processors of both current and future coconut industries. With the professional facilitation of ITC and CARDI, the giant charts slowly fleshed out and appeared on the walls of the George Price Centre venue to give participants a comprehensive snap-shot of the coconut value chain from markets to supply. Broad participation of the private sector, GOB, various non-government organizations (NGOs) and statutory bodies at this critical planning stage, will ensure that the actions and decisions for policies, priorities and strategies will be tailored to specifically suit Belize’s directions and needs.

Participants selected people to join a National Coconut Stakeholder Platform (NCSP), which will coordinate and communicate with farmers, value added enterprises, support services, NGOs and GOB. Mr. Anil Sinha of CARDI will serve as the Focal Point for the project and serve as the liaison between the MNRA and NCSP. Elected members of NCSP include: Mr. Eden Pop, Mr. Manuel Trujillo, Mr. Simon Willacey, Mr. Lester Muralles Cabral, Mr. Jose Trejo, Mr. Gabriel Flores, Mr. Victor Castillo, Mrs. Elsie Ellis, Mrs. Beth Roberson, Dr. Dowlat Budhram, Mr. Efrain Rejon, Mrs. Dona Dougall Sosa, Mr. John Rivero and Mr. Francisco Gutierrez.

ITC will coordinate the sector development priority activities mentioned above with the platform, starting with association-building, market intelligence and an integrated database/Internet and mobile applications tool to improve communications with rural coconut farmers and processors. The platform will also join a network of industry development platforms from the other 8 coconut countries of the project to share in the sector development information and experiences.

For more information, contact: Mr. Anil Sinha, CARDI, Central Farm, Cayo District, Tel 824-2934, as012175@gmail.com
Maurice Wilson, CARDI Headquarters, Tel 1-868-645-1205, mwilson@cardi.org
Matias Urrutigoity, ITC, Tel 011-41-22-730-0436, urrutigoity@intracen.org


Mr. Mauricio Wilson of CARDI and seated Mr. Anil Sinha, also of CARDI


Head Table: Mr. Anil Sinha of CARDI, Mr. Mauricio Wilson of CARDI, Mr. Ian Sayers of ITC, Mr. Roberto Harrison of MNRA, Mr. Mads Korn, EU Representative


Ms. Fay Garnett, Cayo District Ag. Coordinator, MNRA, assists


Working group


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