NATION

Seruiratu Opens $500K Factory In Savusavu

  Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu officially opened a half-a-million dollar, Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) factory at the Copra Millers of Fiji Limited (CMFL) in Savusavu yesterday. Mr Seruiratu said
28 Jan 2017 11:00
Seruiratu Opens $500K Factory In Savusavu
Virgin Coconut Oil officer Faisal Ahmad (left) from India explaining to Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu how the machines are operated during the opening of the Virgin Coconut Oil factory at Copra Millers of Fiji Limited in Savusavu yesterday. Photo:SHRATIKA NAIDU

 

Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu officially opened a half-a-million dollar, Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) factory at the Copra Millers of Fiji Limited (CMFL) in Savusavu yesterday.

Mr Seruiratu said CMFL’s investment on the VCO processing facility was a step in the right direction. He said Government through the Ministry of Agriculture was focused on modernising the agriculture sector.

“This project will address a number of issues farmers and their families who largely depend on coconut production for their livelihood face in the Northern Division,” Mr Seruiratu said.

“In addition to this, the products from this facility are expected to enter different levels of markets; which includes Pure Fiji for VCO, hotels for handicrafts and other niche outlets.

“Government is doing all it can to bring the coconut industry back to its former status, a significant contributor to the economy in terms of exports and employment opportunities.”

He said Government has put together a coconut task force to oversee the development and growth of the industry particularly in the Northern Division.

CMFL board chairman Raj Sharma said the total investment for this factory was $535,000.

“Government gave a grant of $250,000 and Fiji Development Bank gave loan of $285,000,” Mr Sharma said.

“The factory is HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) compliance, to ensure we meet the general manufacturing practices and the product quality is maintained consistent in each batches.

“Additional machines will be brought in.”

He said they had carried out trial runs in December and since then production has been on going.

“In one day we produced 80 litres of VCO.

“The factory operates from 8am to 12am having two shifts.”

“There were two bottlenecks and solutions were identified to address it,” Mr Sharma said.

He said, firstly, they needed to increase the production from 80 litres to 200 litres per day.

The solution is a few key machines that will be installed by June. Secondly, he said they had ordered spare parts for the VCO machines and expect arrival by June.”

However, there were challenges such as shortage of coconut supply, some coconut trees were quite old and some farmers faced labour shortage especially those who wouldn’t go out to collect coconuts from the farm.

The construction work of VCO factory started in September last year and was completed last month.

The company recruited a coconut specialist from India to head the VCO factory and two local staff were to be trained as part of the succession planning for their VCO team leader position over the next three years.

Mr Sharma said the overseas buyers for VCO are from Australia and New Zealand.

Edited by Paula Tuvuki

Feedback:  shratikan@fijisun.com.fj

 

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