Efforts to revive coconut industry in Dominica

ohio students
The students will work with producers of coconut-based products

Coconut-based products made in Dominica, such as coconut cheese and virgin coconut oil, will be placed under the microscope with the aim of making them more ready for the international market.

It is all part of efforts to revive the coconut industry in Dominica.

For the second time the Dominica Manufacturer’s Association (DMA) is collaborating with the University of Dayton, Ohio, for an Industrialization and Commercialization of Coconut Products for Sustainable Economic Growth and Prosperity Strategic Project, which will last for 10 weeks.

First Vice President of the DMA, Severin McKenzie, said five students from the university, who are in the fields of Chemical and Mechanical Engineering and Communication, will be working hand in hand with local producers.

At the end of the 10-week period, it is expected that methods of production will be improved, packaging and marketability will be enhanced to meet international standards and an increase in the volume of the product for the export market will be pursued.

“Eleven small producers of coconut cheese have registered to participate in the program,” McKenzie said.

A competition will be held at the end of the program to determine the best three products.

The first prize winner will receive EC $1,500, second prize, $800 and third prize, $500 will be awarded together with possible marketing contracts.

Monetary prizes are made compliments the University of Dayton.

Participants are from Eggleston, Belles, Bath Estate, Salisbury, Portsmouth Secondary School, Community High School, 4-H Club of St Mary’s Academy and Trafalgar.

The students will be visiting the participants at their homes and some sessions will be held at the Roseau Youth Center.

President of the DMA, Jean Yves Bonaire, said the association intends to work with farmers to revive the coconut sector.

“Beyond this program what we are trying to achieve is to see how we can learn to work together with the ministry, with other stakeholders, and through this exercise we learn how we can regroup our resources to make something happen,” he said. “Beyond this program also, there is the possibility for the farmers to revive our coconut industry on plantations.”

He said there is a program at the OECS level that has been launched with some money available and it is important that Dominica grab a slice of the pie.

In 2014, the DMA collaborated with the Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service Learning (ETHOS) Programme of the University of Dayton, Ohio through the emersion of four students, in the field of Chemical & Mechanical Engineering and Business, at the Believers Multi -Purpose Cooperative in Woodford Hill, which are the main producers of virgin coconut oil on the island.

“From all reports the exchange was very successful with the Believers Multi-Purpose Cooperative indicating a 15 percent increase in production,” McKenzie said.

The Cooperative intends to match that increase this year.

The president of the University of Dayton is expected to visit the island at the beginning of August for further collaboration with the stakeholders involved in the programme and the DMA has its eye set on the 12000 students enrolled at the University of Dayton as the first potential U.S. market for the products.

Coconut oil produced in Dominica by entrepreneur Anthea George under the label "Cape Tranto"
Coconut oil products made in Dominica by entrepreneur Anthea George under the label “Cape Tranto”

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  1. Papa Dom
    May 27, 2015

    Good move but we had a vibrant coconut industry and a company brining in significant revenue to the country and providing numerous jobs, where is it now? I will die insisting that the sale of DCP was a selfish and stupid move. I know there are many who will disagree but I firmly believe that DCP could have survived and would still be doing very well today had it remained in local hands.

  2. anonymous2
    May 27, 2015

    If the resources of this island were used in an efficient manner for the last 50 yrs., DA would be a much more prosperous place. Instead, people have become increasingly more dependent by design and the resources have been handed over or sold to outside sources by the politicians..

  3. Zandoli
    May 26, 2015

    I think the DMA is expecting too much from these STUDENTS. They are students with no industry experience. If these were seasoned professionals, I would have expected more. They will do their best, but they really don’t know a whole lot until they learn the ropes in industry.

    May 26, 2015

    Excellent idea but like any other thing in Dominica these days, it will NOT get the blessing and support of the Serrit led DLP. First of all Skerrit will not support anything that will put bread on the poor man’s table because they will become independent. Secondly, reviving the coconut industry means poor people will go back to the farm and that contradicts Skerrit/ DLP vision of keeping us poor so we could come and bow our knees to him. Thirdly, That school is not in China or Venezuela so they could manipulate and twist information

  5. May 26, 2015

    that is good but do not forget the fiber & the shell, these products can do many things also .

  6. Coco Nana
    May 26, 2015

    Everybody loves coco…..

  7. Dominican
    May 26, 2015

    Great initiative! Lets get more in other areas in order to provide a broad base of employment opportunities.

  8. sailsbury farmer
    May 26, 2015

    DD I am going to call all my family and friends in Canada to buy her product. We have all her product at my house in Sailsbury, I wish her success the product is good, number one in my book, if we can duplicate that 100 times get the dominicans over seas to help us sell those products that would be lovely.

  9. Anthony Ismael
    May 26, 2015

    I know it’s early, but a great public service campaign needs to be part of plan. I’m not sure how long the University of Dayton will stand behind these products. The fact that they’re focusing on sustainable development will help.
    The international community is always keeping a watchful eye on competition. We must be prepared for the onslaught that will follow, as this initiative becomes more successful. We must also be mindful of the lessons from the World Kill and Destroy Organization or “World Trade Organization” as some refer to it.

    The lessons of Dole and Delmonte led by then attorney, Eric Holder, now former Attorney General underneath the Obama Administration. These lessons must always be a guiding force for any Caribbean venture.

  10. Anthony Ismael
    May 26, 2015

    Mr. Nassief must be smiling in his retirement. He pioneered that industry decades ago, only to have the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA through its surrogates condemn this industry with faulty Science, because the US wanted to protect its corn farmers.

    Today, coconut is all the rave all over the world. We need our own labs and our own public service campaign to combat the lies from the international community. We were cleaned-bowled on that one. I love what Severin is doing here. Students will be visiting homes and participants from all walks of life and parts of the island are participating.

    UWI and CARDI have proven to be a grand wastes of time.

  11. Anthony Ismael
    May 26, 2015

    Slisbury farmer cannot come up with one winning idea yet. Just a bunch ah foolishness he talk.

  12. Zbigniew Brzezinski
    May 26, 2015

    Severin McKenzie for pm

  13. sailsbury farmer
    May 26, 2015

    The end result is we need help to learn to produce, the university of the westindes is useless not doing nothing, they should be the ones doing that, all they do is have useless meetings at fort young. You know I would rather have our kids doing s nd showing us what to do , but I have no choice to take that kind of help from strangers to move us forward. In the future I hope black Canadians will come down and help us.

  14. sailsbury farmer
    May 26, 2015

    Pedro thank you very much, I have been saying that every day all they do here is call me names, do you think they understand what I am trying to say I want freedom from the cubans in miami , where are the dominicans in canada to help us achieve our goals, enough blue and red we need local production not more aid from sny body

    • Anthony Ismael
      May 26, 2015

      Garcon I wish you would do some research before you talk foolishness. Dominica Coconut Products was a pioneer in that industry decades ago. We just could not compete or refute the deliberate lies from the USDA, when they stated that coconut oil leads to heart disease and death. We were unable to refute their lies.

      Much of the world’s olive oil production originates in Africa. However, when you buy a bottle in the US, it says Italy. Haiti was once a leading producer or cocoa and coffee until their fields were poisoned. Learn your history before you talk foolishness.

  15. DD
    May 26, 2015

    Anthea George’s products “Cape Tranto” is now available in the U.S through CariSwapShop.com( http://www.cariswapshop.com/shop/category/beauty/ ) – we found her product thru DNO and we are helping her distribute to an international market. We are hoping to continue business with Cape Tranto as she builds her brand. I personally have bought her products and can verify its extremely high quality

    We hope other Dominican follow suit and list their products with CariSwapShop.com

    • Anthony Ismael
      May 26, 2015

      Thanks for posting. I spread the word and support this site.

  16. sailsbury farmer
    May 26, 2015

    I wish the university of the westindes would learn to do the same thing. We have a banana problem, the people helping us are the french and chinese, where are the proffesor from Trinidad and the dominicans we spend our money to send to Trinidad, that’s why I say to shut the whole system doen or fix it now theyare teaching our kids nothing, all we know is shakespear and fight with each other about blue and red and red and be proffesional beggers. Do any one understand where we are after 63 yrs of education

    • Nature boy
      May 27, 2015

      Oh yes yes yes. Lets make this happen. Coconut oil is the number one oil in the world. American greedy food industries don’t want the world to know that so they’re investing millions into their propagandize lies saying that coconut oil has too much cholesterol. What an evil.

  17. May 26, 2015

    Long overdue,Dominica is rich in natural resources all we have to do is get people working and becoming more independent. Dominican rise to the challenge the nation faces .

  18. sailsbury farmer
    May 26, 2015

    This is beautiful, this is liberation we need this in all ares , teachers to teach us how to produce package and sell .

  19. Hawke
    May 26, 2015

    Can’t wait to hear from the Salisbury farmer regarding his comments on all those ‘white’ faces in the photograph.

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