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FIJI TIMES ONLINE  Ropate Valemei Wednesday, October 05, 2011


ABOUT 615,000 coconut trees need to be planted yearly in order to achieve the targeted increase of 30,000 metric tonnes of copra which will take 25 years, according to the proposed Copra Millers of Fiji Limited Reform Framework.

"This target planting needs to be carefully supplemented with proper and efficient farming practices for maximum economic returns to plantation owners and other stakeholders," said a Ministry for Agriculture report.

The report said the planting subsidy similar to that introduced in the late 1960s could be re-established to boost copra production, and this could include both sea and land freight subsidy for transportation.

"It is evident that the major problem is the insufficient quantum of copra supply to the mill," the report said.

However, it added a segment of the review should focus on the mill itself, particularly upgrades that have been particularly undertaken, and maintenance schedules.

"There's a need to identify strategic partners interested in investing in the company through partial or total purchase of government shares," the report said.

Options are being explored to develop a partnership with the Center for Development of Public Enterprise (CDE) in Brussels to fund a feasibility study into Virgin Coconut Oil and refined ***Beach Deodorised Coconut Oil.


*** This should read Bleached Deodorised Coconut Oil commonly known as R.B.D. (Refined, Bleached, Deodorised)

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Comment by Stacey King on October 6, 2011 at 1:19pm

Yes Takesau everyone here in Australia laughed at us when we based our whole business on coconut oil. Now we are having the last laugh as demand for our Banaban Virgin Coconut Oil goes through the roof.

We are going through a 20 FCL containter of oil a month and could sell double that if we could make more on the farm. But now they are doubling capacity there and hope to match this soon. Just heard that a whole contingent of Banaban youths are on the farm now earning money for their village fundraising.

But as you say without coconuts there is no VCO or business at all. We have just began to develop ka maimai and coconut sugar and coconut flour market here and it is also proving very successful. Sadly I am having to get that made in Philippines and also working with Sri Lanka farmers now. Let's hope Rabi and Fiji farmers can also come online with this in the future.


Comment by Takesau Tabore on October 6, 2011 at 12:15pm
Very true aunty Stacey. Banabans of 2 generations ago planted coconut trees on a yearly basis i.e our grandparents who arrived from Banaba but the interest died out with the next generation and almost reached zero level in ours. Thanks for the timely reminder. I think all Banabans in this present age should plant one on a weekly basis. We are now seeing its benefits in the form of VCO that has generated employment on Rabi but are facing problems in supplying the demand.
Comment by Stacey King on October 6, 2011 at 8:38am
Coconuts are the greatest natural resource in the Pacific and should never be under estimated. There are so many natural and sustainable resources like breadfruit, noni, pawpaw, ka maimai etc etc. Just need to identify the market possibilities.


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