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Pine Produce Gains Momentum

Pine Produce Gains Momentum
Callison Pacific Pine Chemical training officer, Fereti Rika, said they harvested nine tonnes of pine resin, tapping a total area of 160 hectares.
May 07
07:57 2015

Chiefs and the people of Lakeba say they are starting to see improvements once the running of their pine development company was handed to them last year.

Previously it was run by private companies. However, they are optimistic things will improve now that Government has promised to help them.

The Minister for Fisheries and Forests, Osea Naiqamu, said Government was committed to work with the community in Lakeba, the Bose Vanua and the Pine Development Company.

“To put the structure in place and the equipment that is required for the efficient operation of the business,” he said.

“$500,000 has been allocated by Government to assist the company. In this year’s budget we’ve put a subsidiary budget in place to assist the transportation of the products from Lakeba to the mainland and other needs.”

Lakeba Development Company manager Eroni Tadu was thankful that the minister had seen the site and work carried out so far.

“It also gives us the chance to submit our requests to the minister since we are still facing some technical problems,” Mr Tadu said.

“The machines are very old and their production rate in five days is only 30 cubic metres, and 60 cubic metres in one month. We have submitted a request for a new pine machine, the brand ten-thirty, which can cut seven cubic metres output in a day.”

Transportation was also a problem since the pine site, which is roughly more than 1500 hectares, is located very far from the treatment plant.

“The pine are transported to Wainiyabia where the treatment plant is and is located seven kilometres from the pine plantation before it is packaged to be shipped to Suva in which the Fiji Pine Trust provides assistance,” Mr Tadu said.

Operations began in January last year after the vanua gave the green light.

“The Bose Vanua had allowed the harvesting of seafood. The deductions made from the sale earned us more than $100,000, which started off the operations,” Mr Tadu said.

“From our last financial year – January to December – we were able to earn more than $200,000. It was also the first time that the company assets were being audited.”

The company employs 26 employees.

Pine Resin Harvesting

Government and Callison Pacific Pine Chemical, an American company with a branch in Lautoka, is also working with the Lakeba Development Company to harvest and export pine resin.

Callison Pacific Pine Chemical training officer Fereti Rika said the initiative began on January 5 this year and since then they have harvested nine tonnes of pine resin, tapping a total area of 160 hectares.

“In every month we should be hanging up 40,000 bags on the trees to collect the resin and from that we would be able to export 16 to 18 tonnes per container every month,” Mr Fereti said.

“The pine resin is collected and sent to Lautoka to be exported overseas to be further processed into end products. End products are deodorants, antiperspirants, adhesives, lip stick, facial creams and balms, etc.”

The main export market right now is the United States, and six other countries are now showing interest.

Meanwhile, Mr Naiqamu handed the company a check of more than $11,000 from the first sale of pine resin. Forty-three people are employed under this initiative. Most are locals.

Feedback:  ana.sovaraki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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