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FIJI TIME ONLINE Serafina Silaitoga Thursday, April 25, 2013

THE unique handicraft work made at the Agriculture Department's Wholenut Processing Centre in Taveuni has already attracted a market.

The centre, opened last month by the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, started its first five-week training session with a group of 10 women from around the country.

Trainer Susana Yalikanacea said they received queries from buyers who were interested in the coconut products made by the women.

"In this centre, we make coconut soap, virgin coconut oil (VCO), handicraft products, eating utensils, decorations for the house and coconut jewellery," Mrs Yalikanacea said.

"We have locals living on Taveuni who come in to buy the products. The staff at this centre also buy the coconut oil for cooking because it is healthy.

"Expats and some hoteliers have also expressed interest in ordering some products and the response has been positive," she said.

She said the ROC market held at Tovutovu, Matei helped boost the project.

"We take our products and sell them to tourists and hoteliers and they're in demand. The coconut products made from this centre have become attractive because they are unique and genuine.

"These women will share their knowledge when they return home and they can even start their own small businesses of selling products made from coconuts."

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