Quality in, quality out for coconut oil producer


Owning the whole process is the key to producing good quality coconut oil for Kiwi entrepreneur Chris Wyllie of Tavulomo Coconut Processing Limited (Fiji).<!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_7028" align="alignleft" width="138"]<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/rsz_img_0003.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-7028 " alt="" src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/rsz_img_0003.jpg" width="138" height="104" /></a> Rusila Vere and Chris Wyllie.[/caption]

“We’re the people at the factory door, we own the trees and we own the factory. We produce good oil” says Chris.

What distinguishes Tavulomo Coconut Processing Ltd factory from the competition is the high International production standards and methods used to produce high quality culinary coconut oil.

TCPL opened in October 2014. It is fitted out with modern equipment where workers are required to follow strict hygiene standards. There are 12 waged factory workers employed and 10-15 coconut collectors that are paid per coconut. They harvest around 800-1,200 coconuts daily for a single 8-9 hour shift.

Instead of using the fermentation method where warm water is added to grated flesh of the coconut and the oil left to separate overnight like most do, TCPL uses a cold press method. The grated coconut is dried on stainless steel drying tables to reach the correct moisture level before being pressed.

Chris has drawn on his previous 10 years of experience in forestry and marketing working with the Japanese International Trading company Itochu.

Plus his business/marketing partner Ian Brahne from Tree of Life NZ Ltd. Where they have created a system for traceability along with GMP &amp; SSOP.

The coconuts are sourced from 4 of the coconut farms on Tavulomo Matiqali land plus various plantations in Bua and brought to the processing factory.

Growers have a farm ID and a supplier ID for identifying where the coconuts are sourced, and so yields and quality are traceable. Each batch of coconut oil also has a batch ID number relating to date of production and where it came from. A sample from each batch is then sent to a laboratory in NZ and tested for bacteria. With the use of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Sanitation Standard of Procedures (SSOP) the result is high-grade edible culinary oil.

The team at TCPL has great pride in seeing and tasting good quality oil. But they are highly critical of some practices and oils offered to them for samples of what’s on the market being poor and only good for the making of soap / lotions and cooking he says.

For Chris and his partner Rusila Vere Director of TCPL, the journey began about 2 years ago when Chris’ business partner Ian took a 3-pack sample of culinary flavoured coconut oils to Japan.

But it took Ian &amp; Chris time to secure a suitable location with a nearby plentiful supply of coconuts. They worked with Oxfam and visited a site in Tonga and then approached Women in Business Samoa. But the ideal spot turned out to be Rusila’s Grandfathers home of Tavulomo Village. After gaining permission from the Matagali or Village Chiefs in May 2013, they had the land with a good supply of coconuts. The business venture now has a big economic impact for villagers who may not have been in paid employment. The factory workers earn an hourly wage and the factory workers are trained in food production, making of soap and the manufacture of coconut flour and baking with it.

Chris is now working with Pacific Trade &amp; Invest to help find buyers for his coconut oil in New Zealand, Australia and Japan.

For more information please contact, Joe Fuavao, Trade Development Manager: <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0000ff; text-decoration: underline;">Joe.F@pacifictradeinvest.com</span></span>

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