Ardi M. Simpala, M.Sc
Ardi grew up in an agricultural region in South Sulawesi and took a Bachelors degree in agriculture. He won a scholarship to continue his Masters study in Wageningen University, Netherlands, which is renowned for agriculture and environmental science. He is currently the chairman of Indonesia Friends of Coconut, working to increase public awareness around the importance of coconut. He also works at Daemeter Consulting in Bogor.
Ardi’s initial work with coconut was in his role at the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community as a market analyst and statistician back in 2012. Since then his passion for coconut grew. He quit his desk job and established Indonesia Friends of Coconut from which platform he organizes national meetings, seminars and conferences on coconut.
Ardi founded and organizes the annual international coconut festival, inaugurated in Indragiri Hilir, the largest coconut-producing district in Indonesia. Since then the festival has moved to different districts annually, most recently before the pandemic, it was in the Karangasem district of Bali.
He also assists and facilitates the establishment of coconut related associations in coconut producing districts that will ideally assemble to support the establishment of an Indonesia Coconut Authority.
Ardi has written 5 books on coconut, as well as articles and a contribution chapter in the book “Save Indonesian Coconut”. He also regularly contributes to the Indonesia Friends of Coconut Facebook social media account that has 20,000 followers. His extensive network of coconut stakeholders includes national private sector stakeholders and internationally, the coconut research institute in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and China.
Strengthening and harmonizing coconut sector development both upstream and downstream is his goal. As well, raising public awareness of the importance of coconut and its potential to support sustainable development through its three pillars of economy, social and cultural, as well as the environment.
Ardi believes the coconut’s moniker “the tree of life” comes with profound meaning. Socially and culturally coconuts have been close to tropical communities for centuries. Coconuts teach us many great lessons, how to grow respectfully and become a model in the community, tall and visible. Coconuts versatility makes them highly valuable and their strength in any challenge ensures their survival, withstanding even tropical cyclones.