Organic coconut farming makes impressive progress in region
The coconut wireless is full of good news about coconuts these days. For one, virgin coconut oil trade and exports are increasing around the region. <!--more-->The oil is a product that can easily be processed further into value-added products such as soaps and lotions and traded by grassroots communities.
The European Union-funded FACT (Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade) project supports three virgin coconut oil enterprises in the region that are not only trading in Fiji and Papua New Guinea but also exporting to Australia, New Zealand, Slovenia and the United States. Plans to export to China are also in the offing.
The FACT project has collaborated with the new IACT (Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade) programme – also EU funded – and Kokonut Pacific Ltd (KPSI) to train organic virgin coconut oil processors in the Solomon Islands last month. The training focused on food safety (HACCP – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and involved more than 26 processors who have been producing and exporting to Australia for the past several years.
Meanwhile, The FACT and IACT projects are also supporting the Kiribati Organic Farmers Association (KOFA) for the analysis of their coconut sugar. The assistance also includes the labeling and packaging of their samples, which were showcased at the recent Foodex trade show in Japan.
The collaboration between the FACT project and KOFA has resulted in three atolls in Kiribati now sustainably producing coconut sugar, with the final packing for market done on the main atoll Tarawa.
(Pacific Periscope thanks Tevita Kete, SPC’s Export Processing and Marketing Officer, for his inputs in this report)