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Lessons Hoped From Philippines Coconut Industry

Lessons Hoped From Philippines Coconut Industry
Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu tours a coconut processing plant in Luzon. Photo: MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE
September 16
11:19 2015

Government hopes to draw lessons from a recent visit to Philippines to develop our coconut industry.

Minister for Agriculture, Inia Seruiratu, just returned from an official trip from Philippines where he and a team of senior officials visited coconut planting industries.

He said: “This exposure to how a country like the Philippines has developed and is developing its coconut industry, provides the Fijian coconut industry developers, farmers and government salient lessons.”

“This is as we take steps to transition our own coconut industry to be competitive in export trade and provide our rural farmers good income from their labour.”

The purpose of the visit was to sign a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Fiji and the Philippines.

The agreement provides a framework for the relevant government agencies in both countries to cooperate in several aspects of the development of the coconut industry. The delegation also visited the coconut plantations to study the species development and inter-cropping alternatives and visit coconut products processing facilities.


Copra Millers

Also accompanying the Minister was the chairman of Copra Millers (Fiji) Limited chairman, Raj Sharma.

Mr Sharma said there are a lot of initiatives and policy frameworks that can be implemented from technical expertise point. The organisation is currently going through a process of reform which includes setting up a refinery.

Therefore, Mr Sharma said the visit was ideal and timely where they can draw lessons from for their own organisation.

“In particular, there are diversification aspects of the coconut that we learnt,” he said.

“For example, we learnt that the matured coconut water, we can process it and package and sell and this is something we will look at. Currently we discard the matured coconut water and just use the copra.”

Furthermore, Mr Sharma said they are looking to have a discussion with Mr Seruiratu and setting up a plan from Copra Millers side.


The visits

Meanwhile, Mr Seruiratu and the delegation toured several coconut processing facilities in the Bataganus and Laguna Province.

One such processing plant, is the Primex Group of Companies, in Luzon.

This company started in 1991 and its aim is to produce tons of world class high grade quality coconut products for the world.

The Minister and his delegation toured a modern coconut processing plant which specialises in several products for exports namely, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk powder and banana chips.



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