A market study report and six pilot projects providing advancement and opportunities for the coconut industry in the Pacific were launched on Thursday, 25 January 2018, at the Melanesian hotel in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Titled “An overview of the market for Pacific Island coconut products and the ability of industries to respond,” the market study takes a critical look at various possibilities and prospects for Pacific Island coconut producers in non-traditional products such as virgin coconut oil (VCO), coconut water, coconut cream products and coconut timber.

The Managing Director of Elcress Agra and one of the recipients of the pilot projects, Nicolas Monvoisin, said “The pilot project support will help us grow our markets for organic coconut oil but most importantly through the Farmers Academy it will establish, we will be able to build capacity of our 900 organically certified suppliers to produce a better quality copra which will result in higher returns for these producers on Epi island.”

This market study was supported by the Coconut Industry Development for the Pacific (CIDP) project, a Euro 4 million (FJD 9.3 million) joint initiative of the European Union, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the Pacific Community (SPC).

Covering four broad markets and core value chains for coconut products, the report was researched and drafted by Dr Andrew McGregor and Mark Sheedy of the Pacific Island Farmers’ Organisation Network (PIFON). The report investigates vital vegetable oil market developments in the international arena within the past two decades; as well as coconut oil and copra as global trade commodities.

Land Resources Division Director, Jan Helsen said, “Ultimately, the study recommends that the Pacific coconut sector focus on VCO for local markets, and high grade copra for export markets as well as cream products such as yoghurt and cream freeze, and timber veneer. This valuable information helps CIDP to further develop value chain road maps of certain coconut products for the Pacific through the baseline information and evidence provided in this market study.”

In conjunction with the launch of the market survey, CIDP is launching six pilot projects that they have in Samoa and Vanuatu. The enterprises identified for pilot projects were announced during the market study launch and will receive support in the form of technical assistance and equipment. Fifteen Expressions of Interest (EOI) were received through an open competitive process, after which an independent business development expert made recommendations to a panel of business, marketing, financing and development experts who then undertook an in-depth analysis of the shortlisted proposals. This technical advisory group’s recommendations were further referred to the governments of Samoa and Vanuatu for their final endorsements.

The applications were rigorously assessed to ascertain how much impact the projects would have on improving the livelihoods of the multitude of smallholders in our region’s coconut sector. The six successful enterprises being endorsed for CIDP support are Mailelani Samoa Body Care, Samoa Coconut Cluster (SCC), Serendi Coco Samoa Ltd., Women in Business Development (WIBDI), Elcress Agra, and Ambrym Coconut Farmers Cooperative Society Ltd (ACFC).

About Coconut Industry Development for the Pacific (CIDP):

Coconut Industry Development for the Pacific (CIDP) is a joint initiative of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union (EU) as part of a broader economic partnership between the EU and the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) states. The aim of CIDP is to bolster the coconut sector in the region through improving the competitiveness of small producers engaged in the coconut value chains, strengthening regional integration of related markets and the intensification of production across the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The programme runs from 2016-2018 and is valued at 4 million Euro.

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Media contact:
Karen Mapusua, CIDP Team Leader, [email protected] or  +679 337 0733