STAKEHOLDERS in the coconut and palm oil industry marked and celebrated the Solomon Islands Coconut Day on Monday, September 25, with a theme aimed to tackle the increasing spread of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle pest.
The Coconut Day was held at the National Auditorium in Honiara.
The event was organised by the Coconut Industry Working Group with support of the Rural Development Program (RDP), Pacific Horticulture Agriculture Marketing Access (PHAMA), Ministry of Agriculture, Commodities Export Marketing Authority (CEMA) and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI).
The them for the Coconut Day is “Managing the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle to Protect our Industries and Rural Livelihoods”.
Among speakers at the occasion included Permanent of Secretary for Ministry of Agriculture, SICCI CEO Dennis Meone and representatives from the Coconut Industry Working Group (IWG), Ministry of Commerce and the Australian High Commission.
Key highlights from the speakers focused on the importance of the coconut crop for basic survival and its economic contribution, however more importantly noting the increasing threat of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle.
SICCI Export Industry and Development Officer (EIDO), John Paul Alasia says the alarming spread of the Rhinoceros Beetle is a national threat and a worthy cause for working groups or stakeholders in the private sector and the government to come together and support the efforts to contain the spread of the foreign pest.
“Coconut as we all know is known as the ‘Tree of Life’ in the Pacific and is an important commodity that has been the basic survival of our people, especially for those in the rural areas, and a great contributor to our economy.
“The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle continues to threaten the coconut and oil palm industry at a fast-growing pace.
“SICCI as the representative body of the private sector joins the call on all stakeholders to unite in the fight against this beetle.”
Coconut industry stakeholders were invited to come together at the Coconut Day to recognise the significance of coconuts to our culture, our livelihoods and future sustainability.
Activities included displays of coconut products and value adding processes.
An open forum was held on measures to manage the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle which threatens our Coconut, Palm Oil and other palm industries.
The Solomon Islands Coconut Day is an annual event and is open to all Coconut Industry Stakeholders including farmers, traders, processors, exporters, government ministries, non-government organisations and donor partners.