3 times read

Poverty Reduction In Coconut Growing Communities- A Strategy For Global Competitiveness

Increasing disappearance of the coconut in the world market has been reported as early as 2000. This is due to the decreasing productivity of coconut farms, increasing number of senile palms and the lack of an effective replanting programme. This is further compounded by the decreasing interest of resource-poor coconut farmers to invest more in coconut production. Unless they earned more, coconut farmers could not afford to conserve their fast disappearing adapted varieties nor plant more coconut. If  this trend continued, coconut will not be competitive. There is therefore an urgent need to make coconut a profitable and attractive crop so that farmers will plant more and invest more in producing higher yields, thereby making coconut more globally competitive.

To address this potential, the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) through its International Coconut genetic Resources Network (COGENT) implemented a “ Poverty reduction in coconut growing communities" project. The project empowered community based organizations (CBOs) to test and promote strategies and technologies for enhancing incomes, food security and nutrition initially in 8 countries and subsequently in a total of 15 countries worldwide. The strategies include: 1) producing and marketing high-value coconut products from all parts o f the coconut -  the kernel, husk, fiber, shell, water, sap, wood and leaves; 2) intercropping cash and food security crops; 3) producing animals and fodder between coconut palms and 4) establishing community- managed seedling nurseries to propagate and distribute high-quality planting materials. The project also provided the needed livelihood capitals to make these strategies and technologies sustainable.

The project proved that if  CBOs are empowered, resource-poor coconut farmers and unemployed and underemployed rural women can improve their lives and conserve their precious coconut varieties through in situ and on-farm conservation. In a period of live years, 48 CBOs with over 7,000 members were organized; 48 microcredit systems were established; 4 income generating strategies and 20 technologies tested and viable ones promoted; at least 60 community-managed seedling nurseries established and 62 farmers varieties characterized and conserved; at least 80,000 new seedlings propagated and planted; at least 20,000 farmers and women and 300 researchers, extensionists and policy makers trained; and the project CBOs were institutionalized by linking them with input supply, markets, microcredit, training, research, extension and policy systems.

....Read Now