In the literature review of Nagaraja 2017 coconut is well known to

In the literature review of Nagaraja (2017) coconut is well known to the Indian continent as the ‘Nux indica’ (Indian Nut ) or the ‘tree of life’ and in western writings its known as ‘Tenga’ which came from the Tamil word ‘Tennai’ and it’s the general belief that the coconut palm originated from Sri Lanka. The spreading of the coconut palm universally was aided by explorers, the sea shores and was once used as a currency in exchange for goods and services specifically in the Indian Ocean (Nagaraja, 2017). According to Batugal et al (2005) coconut is seen as a plantation crop that is much suited for small farmers. FAOSTAT (2015), stated that globally, it is estimated that 12 million hectares are cultivated with a 96 percent being small scale farmer with no more than four hectares each Batugal et al. (2005) and the farms are mostly owned by families. There are two main varieties that are produced, that is, the tall and dwarf varieties with an average production of 40-60 and 80-100 coconut per year. Based on the market segments for coconuts and its value added segments such as coconut oil, desiccated coconut, milk or cream, the coconut fruit is harvested in its dry state and for the ‘pure water’ its harvest in its full size or fresh state that will give the full level of water Batugal et al (2005).2.2 Demand Trends The Abdulsamad (2016) Report stated that consumer preferences for coconuts worldwide are rising causing a pull-demand effect where the value chain is experiencing growth in outputs and prices at all stages of the coconut value and supply chain. This pull-effect of demand can be seen in the case of Guyana, where processors regionally from Trinidad and the Dominican Republic are forging new value-chain markets with Guyanese and creating exporting markets where they are purchasing and importing Guyana’s coconut. The spill-off effects are pushing farmers and plantation owners to revitalizing their coconut plantations with the aim of sustaining the raw material supply base of the regional & global markets (Abdulsamad, 2016). Abdulsamad then looked at the Dominican Republic which is a main export market for Guyana, and he notes that their coconut expansion programme started in 2002 with 10,726 hectares and in 2014 approximately 47,920 ha were under coconut cultivation, which adds up to 30% of expansion in the sector. In 2014, the production output of coconut was 5% of the country’s Gross Value in Agricultural Outputs. Based on his view point, it can be noted that the increase prices for coconut had pivoted the coconut expansion programme in the Dominican Republic and has contributed to opening up the local farmers to regional competition. This is seen in Guyana’s case, where the Dominican Republic is in short supply to international market and their processors are now importing nearly 50% of the annual consumption of coconut from Guyana market Cairo (2015).2.3 Coconut prices and pricingIn the Euromonitor (2011 & 2015) database coconut were traded at an average market price of 14-15 Euros per a sack of 50 coconuts, 11-12 Euros per a sack of 40, 8-9 Euros per a box of 15-16 coconuts and 5-6 Euros per a box of 8 coconuts in the European Markets. Gleaning from the data, the coconut being sold on the European Market by the three countries (Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka), fetches a higher price of 19 Euros per a sack of 40 coconuts while Côte d’Ivoire fetches a less price of 11.50 Euros per a sack of 40 nuts. The key reason being that the coconuts coming from the Dominican Republic (of which Guyana is an exporter to the Dominican Republic), Costa Rica and Sri Lanka are of a much bigger size and the ones coming from Côte d’Ivoire are of a smaller size which is the Dwarf Size. From a Guyana’s perspective, no world market data is available on the export price of coconuts. However, the ‘Development of a Coconut Water Processing Plant – Market and Technical Feasibility’ completed in 2009 states that Guyana’s coconut were carrying a farm gate price of $10-$15 Guyana dollars/dry nuts; and $20 per water nuts, while at the retail level the prices paid for local dry nut were approximately $100 per dry nuts and fresh nuts as much as $200 (Ambaggan, 2009). In comparison, Ajmalsamad (2016) report showed that farmers were being offered US$4 per 100 coconuts in 2008 and it has risen sharply to US$12-US$17 per 100 coconuts between 2008 to the first quarter of 2015. Other data sources from the MOA (2015) showed a very high spike in the middle of the second quarter of 2015 where the farm gate price reached US$34.4 per 100 coconuts in July 2015. These upward price and pricing trends offered by exporters has propel farmers, agro processors and exporters to renewed their interest in the growing and revitalizing their farmland into new coconut acreages (CARDI, 2016). 2.4 Challenges in coconut export2.4.1 Lack of seedling production and technical services: At the ‘Coconut Industry Stakeholders Workshop held in 2009’ the Ministry of Agriculture has identified the coconut sector as one of the sector that needs further development to reach its full potential in terms of production and productivity as well as utilizing coconuts and its value added product (NAREI, 2009). The report further states that coconut must be viewed as an industry where multiple use is made of the estates (for intercropping, crop production) as well as the utilization of coconut based products (copra, coconut water, cream, milk, powder, coir, etc.) to ensure its viability and competitiveness. Highlights from the workshop includes the many constraints were identified which impact negatively on the coconut sector. These include poor drainage, high and rising costs of production, marketing, labour shortage, inadequate crop husbandry practices, lack of fertilization, and limited local manufacturing and processing facilities (NAREI, 2009). In order to have a coordinated approach to dealing with these issues, stakeholder’s participation in the process is essential. In support of the industry’s development the Landell Mills (2013) studies were conducted titled Development of the Coconut Industry in the Caribbean’, it was noted that they were renewed interest by the Guyana’ private sector in the replanting and expanding of the coconut plantations, however, the lack of reliable supply of planting material (coconut seedlings), poor technical capabilities, inadequate research and technical advisory services on high yielding varieties were major challenges faced by the potential investors in 2012. Further, there are restrictions in the importation of coconut seedlings from across the border of Guyana due to the absence of regulatory framework. Based on the findings of the stakeholders’ workshop NAREI (2009) and the Landell Mills (2013) studies the coconut sector is highly unstable and is not in a position to service any high demand of supplies in the global market chain. These constraints were further compounded by the inadequate supply of seedling material of which between 2002-2014 only 330,000 seedlings were distributed countrywide rendering the replanting rate trivially marginal (MOA 2015). In my view, these constraints are the demotivating factors that stifle the sector and the MOA will need to look at means of importing planting material across border to allow for expansion and replanting while the market is booming. 2.4.3 Lack of Coordination in Supply ChainAccording to Abdulsamad (2016) the global coconut industry has developed into a complex marketing supply chain system that offers multiple mixes of marketing segments and better prospects for product processes and design development in the value addition chain however what is lacking in Guyana is poor coordination upstream and downstream of the supply and demand chain in the sector. Abdulsamad posits that has led to multiple divisions in the value chain and deficiency in coordinating strong leadership which weakens the agribusiness sector and further prevent the scale of economies in the provision of services, marketing information, technical extension and finances which undermine the system and lead to high transaction cost among stakeholders. In support of Abdulsamad (2016), Mansfied (2015) holds that a lot of gaps in a value chain push farmers to sell their produce through second tier intermediaries (local collectors) who then traded with middlemen which resulted in limited opportunities for the farmers and agribusiness owners. In fixing this problem (Singh, 2013) purports the organizing of all stakeholders (farmers, processors, marketer, exporters etc.) in a cohesive body and on a set policy guidelines to articulate the needs and cooperation of the sector.In view of the above challenges by the sector, the Government of Guyana through the National Agricultural Research & Extension Institute (NAREI) has undertaken the Red Palm Mite project to reduce the pests and diseases and the expansion of its seedling distribution to coconut farmers (NAREI, 2014). Similarly, the Caribbean Agricultural Research Development Institute (CARDI) has complemented NAREI’s work with a collaborative programme in ‘Integrated Pest Management (IPM)’ to tackle pests and diseases and a Partnership Agreement with the Hope Coconut Industries Estate (MOA, 2017) to revitalized its nursery and provide additional coconut seedling for farmers expansion programme (CARDI, 2017).

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