The International Coconut Lobby
It wouldn't be exaggerated to claim that there are thousands of scientists and lobbyists dedicated to coconuts worldwide. The main reason is that the coconut is a natural resource miracle, meaning that virtually everything from the root to the tip of the palm can be made into products. Another reason is that the coconut as a product is crucial to developmental policy as millions of people worldwide are directly or indirectly dependent on the coconut economy.
Therefore there are a range of international organizations that lobby for coconut farmers, and also for the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the coconut. Most of these are based in coconut-producing countries but some are also located in Europa and even in China, where coconuts don't usually grow. Almost all organizations are financed by one or multiple countries. Here are some of the most important ones:
COGENT is a partnership between various coconut-producing countries and Bioversity International, an international NGO that campaigns for the biodiversity of plants and animals (formerly: International Plant Genetic Resource Institute - IPGRI). Altogether, 38 countries belong to COGENT, including China where no coconuts are cultivated as far as we know.
2. Asian and Pacific Coconut Community
The Asian and Pacific Coconut Community is an international organization formed between 15 countries in Asia who work together to further the rights and interests of people working in the coconut industry. The organization is partially sponsored by the United Nations. The 15 member states are responsible for over 90 % of the worldwide coconut production. The organization is seated in Jakarta and since 21 July 2006, the Filipino Romulo N. Aracon, Jr. has been its executive director. The website features various documentaries about planting techniques, coconut palm diseases etc. The APCC also hosts a number of important coconut conferences.
3. The Indian "Coconut Ministry"
The Indian Coconut Development Board (informally known as the "coconut ministry") is based in Kerala in Southern India. The CDB is attached to the Indian Ministry for Agriculture and promotes the rights of Indian coconut farmers and campaigns for modernizing coconut cultivation in India. The CDB also raises awareness about the diversity and versitility of coconuts as a natural resource and the approximately 1,000 products that can be made from coconuts. The CBD employs a staff of about one hundred.
The current executive director is Smt. Minnie Mathew.
4. Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission
The Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) is an intergovernmental South Pacific organization that campaigns for sustainable development in its South Pacific member states. The SOPAC is supported by its members, but also by the UN and the European Commission. The SOPAC is also influential in researching the use of coconut oil as a fossil fuel-alternative in geographically isolated or politically unstable countries.
Other Coconut Organizations
There are a number of other important national and internation interest groups and organization that promote coconuts or coconut research:
- Sri Lanka: Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka
- India: Central Plantation Crops Research Institute of India
- France: Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD)
- Philippines: Philippine Coconut Authority, United Coconut Associations of the Philippines, Inc. (UCAP)
- International non-profit: Bioversity International, International Plant Genetic Resource Institut
- Asian Development Bank