Next week, the humble Coconut will take centre-stage in Port Moresby, with the hosting of the Inaugural National Coconut Festival.
Co-hosted by the Kokonas Inastri Koporesen, and Department of National Planning, the festival will provide an opportunity for producers, consumers, and investors in this industry, both nationally and abroad to connect to discuss how this growing industry can grow to meet the demand for coconut products.
In announcing the Inaugural National Coconut Festival, Acting Managing Director of Kokonas Indastri Koporesen, Alan Aku, explained the reasons behind staging this event.
The coconut industry has much change in the last decade, largely on the back of reforms to the industry regulatory body, the KIK.
“You’re looking at a K500m industry in this country. It’s a big industry and we cannot continue to play it down and for that reason this festival is important to us.”
“We need to promote the potential of coconut, the benefits of coconut, so that people who look after this commodity, people who continue to make ends meet, have a better income opportunity.”
The Three-day Festival, which begins Thursday September 26th, will include displays from companies, and MSMES involved in the coconut industry within the country.
National Coconut Festival HOC Chairman, Douglas Maip says “We will be bringing them from across the county they will be exhibiting their products during that time.”
According to the KIK, growing demand for coconut products have created a demand for more value-adding within the coconut industry, with the National Coconut Festival now viewed as the perfect avenue to showcase the potential of the industry in PNG to the rest of the world – with a focus on promoting coconut MSMEs to investors who will be present for the three-day event.
Aku further explains that the focus is for more benefits for locals.
“The shift is to go into value addition to go into all these products that are before you and we have started driving our SME program and the SME program is focused on small people in the value chain.
We’ve realized that big companies are good, they can come and take control of the whole industry but then the biggest losers will be our small people on the ground.”
By Meriba Tulo, EMTV, Port Moresby