Press Release: President Panuelo Launches the Coconut National Export Strategy

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), has launched the Coconut National Export Strategy (CocoNES). Created via Presidential Order, the Nation has established the framework for the design process of a national export strategy for the FSM’s coconut products.

During the launch event with the Secretary of the Department of Resources & Development, the Honorable Elina Akinaga, and the Chief Executive Officer of Vital/FSM Petroleum Corporation (Vital), Mr. Jared Morris, President Panuelo explained that “The CocoNES framework, in its entirety, will have a specific mission: to see through the successful design and implementation of the coconut national export strategy, and delivery of its plans of actions. A successful export strategy will result in sustainable supply chains that will bring our very own coconut products from local farmers out to the World. The mission is to make this happen successfully and to translate that success into sustainable incomes and food security for families across this Paradise in Our

The Presidential Order mandates that the CocoNES framework for the FSM will be comprised of a Task Force called the CocoNES Advisory Body; a Coconut Sector Development Coalition; and a CocoNES Secretariat.

The CocoNES Advisory Body will include the Secretaries of the Departments of Resources & Development, Justice, Finance & Administration, Transportation, Communications & Infrastructure, and Foreign Affairs. The CocoNES Advisory Body will be mandated to provide oversight of the CocoNES design and implementation, update the President on a regular basis, and remove roadblocks encountered for a successful strategy design.

The Coconut Sector Development Coalition will include a minimum of eight (8) persons and a maximum of twelve (12), to be drawn in equal proportions from the public and private sectors, with a minimum of one (1) representative each from the State of Yap, the State of Chuuk, the State of Pohnpei, and the State of Kosrae. The Coconut Sector Development Coalition will create a shared understanding of key market challenges and opportunities facing the coconut industry, build consensus on the best growth path for the coconut industry, set goals and targets that will strengthen the coconut sector’s competitive position, and contribute to the identification of resources for implementing priority programs and projects, among other duties.

The CocoNES Secretariat will be comprised of Vital, which is mandated to provide operational and administrative support to the overall CocoNES framework.

“The main idea for the average citizen to take away from all of this is that the FSM wants to encourage local families and farmers to grow and sell whole coconuts to Vital. These whole coconuts will then be processed by our local workers into healthy value-added products that will be competitive both in the domestic and international markets. Over time, this will revitalize our coconut industry while providing alternative income streams, good paying jobs, and allow communities to address their priority development needs. Within this value chain, from producers to finished products, we will encourage greater participation in the agriculture sector and hopefully engage our citizens abroad to take interest and return home and participate. We can be one of the best coconut products producers regionally and internationally right here from our Paradise in Our
Backyards,” President Panuelo said.

CocoNES is the FSM’s first sector-specific export strategy. The push for a coconut export strategy came from President Panuelo’s direction on January 8th, 2020, when the President was updated on Vital’s Coconut for Life Project prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“I said in January 2020 that we look to Vital as the entity within the FSM that can really transform and catapult us into a new level of development, strengthening food security, energy security, and lessening income inequality, among other areas. Vital continues to have the complete and total confidence and support of the Panuelo-George administration, and I call upon all citizens of the FSM who are interested in building back better to work with Vital and the FSM National Government as we jointly work together to develop and export coconut products.”

The Presidential Order establishing CocoNES may be found here: