The Coconut palm is more than just a beautiful, natural aesthetic that inhabits Guyana and every island within the Caribbean archipelago. It is synonymous with the Caribbean’s image and culture. Besides being visually abundant, the coconut is also an important contributor to food security, both at the small scale and industrial levels. The palm serves a multi-functional role producing a variety of products, which are consumed regionally and internationally, as well as creating sources of employment and income for farmers. However, for these farmers and processors to reap the full benefits of this multi-functional plant, they must be able to understand and manage the business aspects of the industry.
Hence why, collaboratively, The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Small Business Bureau (SBB), conducted a three day training course, on small business management for coconut farmers in Region 2, Guyana. At the opening ceremony on 26 September 2022, Region 2’s Chairperson, Vilma De Silva, spoke to farmers, urging for their implementation of the information shared in their respective businesses. Elated that her region was chosen for such training and will benefit established agro-processers, she stated, “For any enterprise to grow capacity building is important and for that to happen the business owner must realize that record keeping is the key… in this region we have over 700 coconut farmers and it’s a big business here.”
ITC Coordinator Raymond Trotz, mentioned that the training is under a collaborative project with CARDI, which focuses on entrepreneurship, financial management, record keeping and business administration. The project he stated is part of the ITC’s Alliances for Action (A4A) initiative, to develop the coconut industry, under Phase II of the EU/CARIFORUM-funded project Alliances for Coconuts II, which is being implemented in 12 countries.
Recognizing how promising the A4A’s approach is to farmers in developing agri-business enterprises from production to processing and marketing, Trotz said “The main thrust of Coconut II is capacity building of small holder farmers to facilitate and provide support to development of the region’s coconut value chain.”
With over 1,800 Guyanese coconut farmers, he continued that many from Regions 4, 3, 2, 10, and 5 were also equipped with similar training.