GUYANA is to host its first ever Coconut Festival to showcase the diversity of the humble coconut, a fruit that is widely referred to as “the Swiss Army Knife of the plant kingdom”.The event, according to Director-General of Tourism, Mr Donald Sinclair, is to be held during the course of Coconut Awareness Week, which is slated for October 15 – 23.
As suggested by Minister of Business, Mr Dominic Gaskin, who has portfolio responsibility for Tourism, the proposed festival has tremendous possibilities, as it presents Guyana with “a refreshing opportunity to do something new and non-traditional.”
But to do this successfully, he said, we’d first need “to look beyond our domestic market,” as there’s “a seemingly endless market” abroad for the coconut and its many by-products, which can be produced right here in Guyana.
Surprising as it may seem, the coconut, according to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr George Jervis, has been one of Guyana’s top three exports for the latter part of the past decade.
But what is even more surprising, he said, is that the very coconut we export is being imported “as a manufactured value-added product” and is sold in our market.
The coconut, its variety of uses, and its creative and economic possibilities will all be highlighted during the awareness drive.
The festival will be fostering the Regional Programme for the Development of Coconut of which Guyana and eight other Caribbean countries are a part.
Exhibitors will be drawn from countries such as Suriname, Mexico, Brazil, Switzerland and India, as well as other Caribbean countries.