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Going Nuts About Coconuts: Guyana’s October 21 – 23, 2016 Coconuts Festival
Guyana recently hosted its first ever Coconut Festival from October 21 – 23 at the Arthur Chung Convention Center. The Festival was developed as a joint Business/Tourism initiative as a unique combination of educational workshops, festivities, events, entertainment and awareness dedicated to the Coconut, as the world’s newly discovered “miracle fruit!” The 2016 Coconut Festival was conceived, developed and hosted by Guyana’s Tourism Ministry as a direct response to the challenge of a local, regional and international increase in demand for coconut and coconut products which Guyana now faces. The event which was staged in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture attracted local stakeholder interest as well as overseas private sector participation. Guyana enjoys a limited trade in coconuts with the region, primarily the Dominican Republic. Local entrepreneurs also export coconut water to other territories in the region, chiefly Trinidad and Tobago. Additionally, the country boasts a modest but growing coconut oil industry with product reportedly enjoying good sales in the Caribbean and beyond. With Guyana now seeking to take its coconut industry “to the next level.” The October Festival was aimed at facilitating the development of an agro tourism portfolio that would be equipped to play a focal role in advancing the regional programme for coconut development. Guyana’s Director General of Tourism, Donald Sinclair had earlier described the 2016 Coconut Festival as “a national event with regional implications.” The relatively well attended three day Festival was comprised of presentations, seminars, exhibitions, demonstrations, fashions displays, games and entertainment, all related to promoting the coconut product.