‘Global vision for a local solution.’
This, in a ‘nutshell’, was the outcome of a three-day Leadership training programme held for members of the Coconut Producers Societies from Alappuzha District. Between the 18th and 20th of September 2012, the Coconut Development Board (CDB) tapped into the management wisdom of the world-class faculty of SCMS-COCHIN to churn out a local solution. Speaking in the concluding session on 20th September 2012, Mr. T.K. Jose, IAS, Chairman, Coconut Development Board, stressed the importance of learning from a management institution like SCMS-COCHIN.
“We have to think differently”, he said. “Coconut oil and kernel are not the only products we can produce from the coconuts that we harvest. Products that are nut-free, sugar-free, soya-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and nutritious can be produced from these coconuts. We have to gain knowledge from experts like SCMS-COCHIN, and share ideas to improve our lifestyle.”
Mr. Jose also pointed out that the Biotech department at SCMS has already introduced these projects.
Apart from training on how to manage their societies better, the members of the Coconut Producers Society were given a wide knowledge of how products like the ‘4% low fat cream’ has great demand worldwide. The various other products suggested during the intense three-day ideating were palm sugar for diabetic patients, virgin coconut oil that has been effective against diseases like those impacting the Thyroid, and certain strains of HIV as well.
Providing some ‘food’ for thought for all, Mr. Jose pointed out that even the smallest and simplest products like charcoal, fiber, etc., are being used to change lives and routines.
“Your task does not end here,” Mr. Jose pointed out to the members of the coconut growing fraternity who had undergone training at SCMS-COCHIN. “You now have to educate others in your respective societies about what you’ve learnt at SCMS-COCHIN. The need for care given to the trees, the manure used for its growth, and the medical cure required, needs to be improved.”
Mr. Jose’s session then grew into an active exchange of ideas, with harvesters discussing various improvisations that could be carried out to create new products out of the coconut, and how to get better yields out of their coconut harvest.
In the long term, these Coconut Producers Societies – which are relatively smaller groups – will be motivated to come together in federations of 15 to 25 CPSs. The Coconut Development Board, Cochin, that sponsored this programme in SCMS-COCHIN, aims to form 10 such federations in the state. Once this is achieved, these federations will be organised to form a producing company, for which they will be mentored and facilitated for the next five years. Clearly, to achieve this objective, the CDB looks upon SCMS-COCHIN as a natural partner.