National Coconut Festival - 23rd to 28th March 2015
The Nuts and Oil Crops Directorate (formerly Kenya Coconut Development Authority) in conjunction with likeminded organizations held a six-day National Coconut Festival from 23rd to 28th March 2015 in both Mombasa and Nairobi to create awareness of the potential in the coconut industry. The festival’s theme was dubbed “Embracing Coconut for a healthy, secure and sustainable economy.”

In Kenya, coconut is almost exclusively found in the coastal areas of Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Lamu and Tana River Counties. According to the Nuts and Oil Crops Directorate, recent studies have shown that there is potential for suitability of coconut farming in other parts of the County with few trials showing good successes such as in Tharaka Nithi, Makueni and Homabay.

The Coconut sub-sector is estimated to support over 100,194 farmers contributing over 1.5% of the agricultural GDP and 0.4% of the national GDP. Despite the enormous potential to contribute to the country’s economy, the sub-sector faces prevalent constraints that need to be addressed. These include the fact that the coconut value-addition is highly fragmented, small in scale and highly informal. In addition, the benefits of coconut products as well as know-how in their utilization are more pronounced amongst the Coastal community with a small fraction of a few elites in other Counties. These among many other factors have made the sub-sector rank very low amongst other sub-sectors in the country and below par compared to other similar coconut producing countries hence the need to reverse the trend.

It is in view of the above that the Nuts and Oil Crops Directorate sought to hold the national event with the main objective of creating awareness of the coconut tree, its products and benefits while providing a platform for learning and sharing ideas on how to revamp the sub-sector by stimulating demand for coconut products.

The National Coconut Festival was first held in Mombasa from 23rd to 25th March 2015 at the Mama Ngina Open Drive and thereafter in Nairobi from 26th to 28th March 2015 at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre. The Export Promotion Council (EPC) as a key stakeholder in the coconut sub-sector participated in the Mombasa festival and engaged with fifty five people at the EPC booth. Twenty nine other exhibitors participated in the event held in Mombasa.

Besides participating in the event, EPC has been working in close collaboration with the Nuts and Oil Crops Directorate and has offered various services and programs to the small and medium enterprise actors in the coconut sub-sector. Some of which are: linkage to export markets, provision export trade information, export trade trainings, County Outreach and Product development programs.
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