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Development Strategies For Increasing Profitability In The Coconut Industries Of Asian And Pacific Countries

Copra is the primary product common to all coconut producing countries of the world. However, copra is one of  the lowest valued coconut product in which the price movement in the world market is very unstable. Hence, coconut industries whose major product is still hinged on copra remain unpro fitable and even heavily subsidized as in the case of  some Pacific Island countries.

Coconut as a versatile raw material can be considered a gold mine if it is properly processed and utilized. As the so called “Tree of  Life ”, the coconut provides the highest economic value among various palm trees because every part of the coconut tree and its fruit can be utilized for man's use or processed into different value added products and by­ products. A myriad of  high value products can be produced from it (i.e. it can yield several products with a single raw material) in one processing set-up. Technologies are already well developed and available to produce several products from the different parts of  the coconut. Hence, with concerted efforts, there is really no reason why a coconut industry could not become profitable.

The paper discusses different development strategies for increasing profitability in the coconut industry, a lot of  which have been successfully demonstrated in the Philippine coconut industry which made it a billion US dollar earning industry that it is now. These strategies are high value product processing, product diversification and downstream processing, integrated processing with coconut by-products, proper market matching and development, etc. some of which have also been applied in other coconut producing countries of Asia. Likewise, it also discusses the various characteristics related to coconut which are inherent to Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICT’s) and the strategies to get around these weaknesses to increase profitability and ensure sustainability in their coconut industries. It should be noted that the coconut industry situation in PICT’s is very much different to the coconut producing countries of Asia so development strategies which may be proven successful in Asia may not be applicable in PICT’s.

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