Copra Industry remains challenged despite govt reforms
November 30, 2014 6:00 pm
Copra is still the largest commodity in Cakaudrove and despite government reforms, the Copra Industry remains challenged.
Copra Millers Limited who is now working towards getting better returns for farmers in the North say even though government is there to protect the industry with the price support fund announced last year, the operational costs associated with the industry is significant.
Executive chairman Ilisoni Taoba says they are now working on new business strategies, to help farmers get better returns.
“We have just commissioned a consultant from the UK he is an expert in the coconut industry, and as we anticipated, we have to move into virgin coconut oil, virgin coconut oil, you have high value for export, this is purely for export market and better return for the farmers.”
Tapping into the virgin coconut oil export market, Taoba says, Value Adding will give farmers more of an incentive.
" Say if we go into that, the equivalent of one tonne of copra, i.e about 6000 nuts, and if we sell that at about 25 cents a nut about $1400, as again $780 you get from copra, then you pay for your freight but for this one, if we buy from mill gate, that is cash to the farmers."
The expert says this is the only way to revive the coconut industry in Fiji.
A feasibility study is currently being assessed by the government, and if green light is given, Taoba says, this will be the key to restoring the Copra Industry.