GORONTALO. NSLIC/NSELRED supports the economic development efforts in five city and districts in Gorontalo province by improving the economic value of local commodities such as coconut, corn, cattle and tourism. Coconut is one of the Gorontalo’s main commodities that NSLIC/NSELRED has been discussed and studied since 2017. The analysis suggests that coconut-based products can provide added value to the farmers and smallholder households in generating income. It is because every part of coconut from the fruit, flesh, water, shell, fiber, palm and tree are able to be further processed. Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that engage in the coconut processing industry in Gorontalo province mainly produce Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO), traditional coconut oil and coconut-based snacks. While the demand for quality VCO is high, local SMEs in Gorontalo hope to improve their products and expand the market soon.
Coconut oil in Gorontalo province are commonly produced by SMEs involving women groups. The emerging home industry gains good start as local government has issued a Provincial Regulation to buy the products and include coconut oil processing SMEs in the social aid scheme. The local government and SMEs have expressed strong commitments to improve their capacity on proper industrial standard for coconut oil processing, refine the quality and bring the products to the international market.
NSLIC/NSELRED collaborates with national VCO business association, experts and entrepreneurs to provide technical assistances for improving the capacity of local government and SMEs in Gorontalo province. After various training and trials, NSLIC/NSELRED also developed a practical Guideline on Quality Standardization for Coconut Oil Processing and handed over a production machine to SMEs as part of pilot program in complying the national standards for VCO processing.
The launch of Guideline and handover of VCO processing machine was successfully held on August 13, 2018 at the office of Gorontalo Regent. Among the event attendees are the Director of Directorate for Disadvantaged Regions, Transmigration and Rural Development at Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas, Sumedi Andono Mulyo, the Head of Gorontalo district, Nelson Pomalingo, Senior Development Officer of Global Affairs Canada, Jeffrey Ong, NSLIC/NSELRED Project Director, Rino A. Sa’danoer, representatives of the Provincial Coordination Committee, Multi-stakeholder Forums, local SMEs, university, NGOs and media.
The Head of Gorontalo district, Nelson Pomalingo said, “There are about 20,000 hectares of coconut plantations owned by smallholder households in Gorontalo and many SMEs produce VCO, traditional cooking oil, snacks and other products. We are very grateful for the support of NSLIC/NSELRED so that through this partnership the coconut oil processing industry will significantly grow and our products can be accepted by national or even international markets. The demand for VCO on the market is increasing because coconut oil is healthier. We will continue to encourage the development of local commodities such as VCO, corn, cattle and tourism to increase employment and reduce poverty rate in Gorontalo district.”
Pomalingo also appreciated the technical assistance and standard VCO processing machine provided by NSLIC/NSELRED to a local SME Tunas Sejahtera. He committed to allocate the district funds to purchase additional ten units of VCO processing machine which will be soon produced by the Gorontalo Polytechnic.
Representative of SME Tunas Sejahtera, Wahyu shared his gratitute, “Finally this long-awaited opportunity comes true. We, local SMEs of VCO processing are grateful to receive technical supports and training. We actually hope for this from the local government and partners. Thanks to the Head of Gorontalo district, the Ministry of National Development Planning/ Bappenas, GAC and NSLIC/NSELRED. We believe that this valuable supports can help us to improve the quality and quantity of coconut oil products while striving for market expansion.”
Director of Directorate for Disadvantaged Regions, Transmigration and Rural Development at Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas, Sumedi Andono Mulyo stated, “Witnessing the enthusiasm of the local government and SMEs in Gorontalo, I am optimistic that the local commodities should be continuously developed. Innovations in coconut-based products for VCO, cooking oil and traditional snacks are among good examples that must be appreciated. The Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas together with GAC and NSLIC/NSLRED will continue to facilitate such innovations that adding value to local products to increase local investment climate, income and economic development.”
Meanwhile, NSLIC/NSELRED Project Director, Rino A. Sa’danoer added, “We hope that this practical Guideline on Quality Standardization for Coconut Oil Processing and VCO processing machine can stimulate the local SMEs’ enthusiasm in improving the quality of their products. NSLIC/NSELRED commits to support the national and local governments’ efforts in strengthening the capacity of SMEs, facilitating regulations and licensing as well as other technical assistance.”