Island family farms in coconut oil business alliance


Two leading Pacific non-government organisations (NGOs) have come together to explore the expansion of coconut oil production to Hawaii and Native Hawaiian family farmers.<!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_3656" align="alignright" width="138" caption="Robin Puanani Danner, CNHA President and CEO, is pictured with Adi Tafuna’i, WIBDI Executive Director at the 2012 Micronesian Regional Women’s Summit in Palau. Photo: Talamua Online"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-3656" title="Danner-Tafunai" src="" alt="" width="138" height="104" /></a>[/caption]

The Samoa based Women in Business Development (WIBDI) and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) made a commitment to partner in the activity at the Micronesian Regional Women’s Summit in Koror, Palau last week.

“Over the last 16 years, we have worked with small groups of indigenous producers to establish coconut oil processing systems to supply large markets,” Adi Tafuna’i, WIBDI’s Executive Director was quoted as saying in Talamua Online.

“By working together with many small farming families, the Pacific is establishing itself as capable of meeting market demand that would otherwise not be possible for a single family or island in the Pacific.” The project of advancing coconut oil production includes native families from Tonga, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and Samoa.

“Agricultural lands under our land trust established in 1920 by the congress, may be a great place to pilot the expansion of coconut oil production,” Robin Puanani Danner CNHA President said. “We are committed to exploring the feasibility, identifying homestead families to pilot the process and to work with WIBDI to enter the consortium of Pacific Islanders providing coconut oil on the world market.”

“We have more in common than differences among Pacific Island peoples,” Danner said. “And the solutions are often inter-changeable or at least have great potential for success when we share experiences and adjust to the uniqueness of each island economy.”

CNHA will host a team from Samoa to Hawaii before the end of the year, and prepare to establish a coconut oil press and processing pilot project. In the meantime, CNHA will convene small groups of families to identify interest in testing the pilot as well as modeling financial projections to test feasibility and project scale, reports Talamua.