Collaboration to realize green investment in coconut commodities can promote sustainable development.

The Gorontalo administration in collaboration with the International Coconut Community (ICC) and the Indonesian Coconut Council (Dekindo) organized the World Coconut Day (WCD) commemoration, 21-25 September 2023.

This activity focuses on collaboration to realize sustainable green investment in coconut commodity governance.

The event, which was attended by representatives from 16 countries and more than 100 coconut-producing districts in Indonesia, became a place to exchange coconut development and business innovations between regions, which is in line with green development principles.

Nelson Pomalingo, Mayor of Gorontalo, hopes that WCD 2023 will be the first momentum to establish serious, impactful business collaborations that are in line with the local government’s commitment to encourage sustainable development.

He hopes this activity can improve market access, build consumer confidence, and ensure the social, environmental, and economic sustainability of the coconut industry. “It is also hoped that World Coconut Day 2023 can benefit business actors in the coconut sector, from upstream to downstream,” Nelson said in a release received by Ekuatorial on Friday (22/9/2023).

The existence of innovative financing that can be used to boost the ability of sustainable production and processing of value-added products/services needs to be a key part of the sustainable coconut roadmap.

Gita Syaharani, Ekonomi Membumi Coalition

Nelson believes that the main agenda of WCD 2023, titled “Business and Partnership Matching”, is a strategic activity to bring together coconut commodity business actors with business partners. This is because, through inclusive collaboration and active involvement of all parties, sustainable coconut commodity governance can be realized.

“This activity can also be an opportunity to start the Sustainable Coconut Roadmap preparation in Indonesia,” Nelson added.

Sandiaga S. Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, appreciated WCD 2023’s organization. Collaboration of stakeholders in coconut management, in his view, encourages coconut product marketing and investment from upstream to downstream. It also contributes to the realization of Indonesia’s ideals as the world’s center for coconut varieties.

“This idea, with the theme Sustainable Coconut for the Present and Future Generation, is extraordinary. Let us, together, build the Indonesian coconut sector for now and later, a strong Indonesian economy,” he explained.

Teten Masduki, Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises believes that WCD 2023 is in line with the government’s program to develop downstream business models to increase the role of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the global supply chain.

“Therefore, I hope that WCD 2023 can be a place for MSME players in the country, especially those from the Gorontalo District, to introduce local commodities. That includes coconut products, as well as other innovative regional products, so they can compete internationally,” said Teten.

The future of Indonesia’s coconut commodity

With coconut plantations reaching 3.7 million hectares, one of the largest in the world, coconut is a potential commodity for Indonesia.. In fact, throughout 2022-2026, this commodity is expected to remain in surplus.

“No wonder the country is the world’s number one coconut producer. Indonesia is also the world’s number one exporter of coconut grains, and the second global exporter of shredded/dried coconut, as well as the world’s coconut oil,” said Riska Putri, Head of the Interim Secretariat of Lingkar Temu Kabupaten Lestari (LTKL) — a district government association formed and managed by the district governments to realize sustainable development in the region.

He dubbed this condition a ‘gold’ field for coconut commodities because in the future this commodity will transform into a sustainable agricultural industry developed to adapt, restore, and conserve critical ecosystem areas, both in forest and coastal areas.

Coconut production in Indonesia, according to the Ministry of Agriculture’s “Coconut Plantation Commodity Outlook“, reached 2.86 million tons in 2022. Production is predicted to increase over the next five years to 2.87 million tons in 2026. While the average increase in coconut production over the next five years (2022-2026) is estimated at 0.14% per year.

The Outlook also shows that the plantation subsector is the largest contributor to agricultural exports. Plantation commodities exported in 2021 reached US$40.71 billion (IDR625.18 billion at current exchange rates), with coconut accounting for US$1.65 billion or 4.05% of this figure. Palm oil topped the list with US$30.25 billion (74.31%), followed by rubber at US$4.12 billion (10.13%).

This large export value needs to be accompanied by sustainable production capabilities, as well as the processing of value-added products and services. Innovative financing needs to be a key part of Indonesia’s sustainable coconut roadmap.

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Gita Syahrani, a board member of the Ekonomi Membumi Coalition — a multi-stakeholder collaboration to gather and promote sustainable agriculture, food, and art business products — points out that access to funding is often a challenge for coconut commodity businesses. This is despite the fact that their sector is an important one for Indonesia, so they need to be helped to increase their resilience in the face of the climate crisis.

“The existence of innovative financing that can be used to boost the ability of sustainable production and processing of value-added products/services needs to be a key part of the sustainable coconut roadmap,” said Syahrani.

This collaboration, she added, is also in line with the President’s and the Ministry of Agriculture’s directive to develop early maturing coconut land to strengthen the agricultural sector to face the global food crisis and create future household income.

About the writer

Themmy Doaly

Themmy Doaly has been working as Mongabay-Indonesia contributor for North Sulawesi region since 2013. While in the last nine years he has also been writing for a number of news sites in Indonesia, including...

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