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SPC’S Achievements On Value-Added Coconut Products For The Livelihood And Trade Of The Pacific Islands

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is an international organisation that provides technical and policy advice and assistance, training and research services to its Pacific Island members. SPC works in a wide range of sectors with the aim of achieving three development outcomes: sustainable economic development; sustainable natural resource management and development; and sustainable human and social development. Its work programme is determined by members, and all of the regional initiatives aim to support members’ national policies and plans. The Pacific Community has 26 members. They include the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories. SPC in support of its member countries have been promoting the development of value added coconut products.  Copra and CNO are amongst the main products produced and exported by most of the countries in the Pacific Islands. However given the high transportation costs, these are commercially marginal and subject to price volatility. In addition very few alternatives are available as a sustainable source of cash for the rural dwellers that form the bulk of the populations in the different countries in the Pacific. These are therefore the main motivations behind the efforts taken to promote valued added coconut products especially given the new window of opportunity provided in the global markets for high value coconut products. There are two major foci; Virgin coconut oil and coconut timber, but other products being targeted include coconut sugar, coir products and tender water. The focus is not only limited to production but looks at the whole supply chain. These efforts have been catalysed and catapulted by donor support mainly from the European Union. The main EU funded projects are the:

- Facilitation of the Agricultural Commodity (FACT) which commenced in 2008 and will be terminating at the end of 2012 and 
- Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) which commenced in June 2011 and will run for another four years.  

The assistance provided by these two projects is not specific to exports of coconuts but includes many other commodities and products in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries sectors. It is interesting to note how such assistance are augmenting the quantity and improving the quality of products being exported and marketed locally. The approach taken by these two projects highlights the importance of support provided to enterprises in the SPC member states that in turn play an important role as processing hubs between the market and producers of raw materials. This is important for poverty alleviation. It also fortifies the important roles of coconuts and other soft commodities in national economies. The participation of SPC in this COCOTECH meeting was made possible through the EU- IACT project funding and the Land Resources Division of SPC sincerely appreciates the invitation extended by APCC, the Government and Coconut Industry Board of India to be part of this important event.  

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