Category: Education Corner
Published: Friday, 17 May 2019 04:59
Written by Bill Jaynes
Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia – On January 9, 2019, a group of twelve farmers in Pohnpei formalized their partnership with Vital as coconut suppliers under the Participant Guarantee System (PGS) model. The Takaiou PGS of Takaiou, U Municipality were also registered as the first PGS group to be incorporated in the FSM. This is a significant milestone for Vital’s Coconut for Life (C4Life) initiative and its goal to improve livelihoods across the country. The group, with farmers ranging between 36 and 70 years of age, has since completed two trades with Vital, selling over 9,000 pounds of husked coconut to the Coconut Industry Development Unit (CIDU) in Dekehtik, Pohnpei.
In February, the Takaiou PGS visited CIDU, walking through the facility and witnessing their harvests being processed into virgin coconut oil. The farmers and representatives of Vital were also invited to a luncheon hosted by the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), during which time MCT’s Santiago Joab, Jr. and C4Life Resource Analyst Peterson Anson both commended the group as the first to become incorporated. Anson stated, “C4Life is all for the benefit of the nation as a whole. That is why, among all the natural resources in the FSM, we are working with coconuts—because almost every island in every state has coconut trees, and everyone can participate as a supplier. We foresee that MCT and the Takaiou PGS have laid the path for several hundred more PGS groups to follow. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in six months’ time, our empty warehouse in Dekehtik will require an expansion, once farmers see the long-term benefits of the C4Life project.”
C4Life aims to contribute to the financial security of the nation. It is designed to create a new and sustainable source of income for farmers in the FSM, as the nation prepares for the conclusion of the Compact of Free Association between the FSM and the United States in 2023.
Community engagements in each state are tentatively scheduled in phases:
Phase 1 - Pohnpei communities (Sept 2018-Aug 2019)
Phase 2 - Yap Copra Agents (Q12019)
Chuuk communities (Q32019)
Phase 3 - Kosrae communities (Q42019)