IBSA Fund Annual Report- KIRIBATI


Enhancing Inclusive Sustainable Economic Development through Coconut-sector Development

Approved Budget:



January 2018– June 2020

Mostly contributing to:



Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives; UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji


The overall goal of the project is to foster income generation for smallholder farmers and improve their livelihoods through value-added coconut products while contributing to inclusive, sustainable economic development as envisaged in the national development strategy. The project will support the development of the Coconut Sector Strategy and finalize the roadmap to engage smallholder coconut farmers along the coconut value chain, with identification of commercially viable value-adding opportunities along the chain.

The need to formulate the strategy is informed by the globally recognized socioeconomic value of the coconut industry. Coconut is known to have a central role in the diets of Pacific people and is vital in contributing to food security, health promotion and sustainable livelihoods. The motivation to develop the coconut sector is also triggered by the new interest in coconut-related products such as virgin coconut oil, coconut oil for electricity generation and transportation, coconut water, coconut sap sugar, timber products and toddy, among others.

Results (Intended Outcomes/Outputs)

  • Develop a coconut-sector development strategy with a focus on value-added services to benefit smallholder coconut farmers;
  • Establish a multi-stakeholder platform with strong linkages with the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community; and
  • Conduct a feasibility study of the production of virgin coconut oil to develop a viable project on selected outer islands.

Key Achievements

  • The Coconut-sector Development Strategy has been developed along with an implementation matrix. A Coconut-sector Development Subcommittee has been established to oversee the implementation of the Strategy.
  • The Government of Kiribati had identified the production of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as one of the viable value-added products that could be implemented in selected outer islands. In addition to VCO production, the project assisted women handicraft producers to acquire modern production skills to improve the quality of relevant products.
  • A feasibility study was undertaken to advise on the viability of the VCO production project to be implemented on the targeted island and provide an estimate of costs.

Link of the Project to National Priorities

Developing the coconut sector will address Key Priority Area 2 of the Kiribati Development Plan 2016–2019 on economic growth and poverty reduction. It will also contribute towards the implementation of the National Quality Policy 2017–2023, which seeks to enhance trade competitiveness by improving the quality and standards of the products in sectors where Kiribati has a comparative advantage, such as the coconut sector. The Government of Kiribati recently embarked on a 20-year development plan for 2016–2036 to develop economic activities on the outer islands through the creation of new industries and improved trade to enhance inclusive growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Strengthening South-South Cooperation

Collaboration is being established with the Rabi Coconut Project in Fiji to learn technologies to produce virgin coconut oil (VCO) in Kiribati. These activities include building the outer islanders’ capacities through an exchange programme with the project in Fiji. Two Community Champions were recruited to oversee the pilot VCO production activities on the identified outer island and were sent for a one-month training programme at the Rabi Coconut Project in Fiji.

Challenges and Lessons Learned

Regular assessment of the project by the project Board was found to be useful in better targeting the resources. The Board reviewed the project achievements and explored opportunities to better utilize the resources, focusing on results. The Board suggested adjusting existing activities and including a new pilot activity for the installation and operationalization of a VCO plant, which would bring tangible and scalable benefits to the target population.

Way Forward

Building on an assessment of the pilot VCO production plant, UNDP and the Government will develop a strategy for the sustainability and scaling up of the project.

Coconut Sector Development Strategy validation workshop
Coconut oil product
Coconut Sector Development Strategy validation workshop