Virgin coconut oil producers harness business skills at workshop
Over 50 virgin coconut oil (VCO) producers were part of a 3-day training workshop in Honiara focused on strengthening their business skills and financial management.
The workshop is an annual event targeting producers who are direct micro expeller (DME) unit owners registered with Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands (KPSI).
Held as part of the Solomon Islands Virgin Coconut Oil Producers Association (SIVCOPA) annual general meeting, the workshop is a platform to upskill DME unit owners to operate effectively as VCO producing businesses and for village-based suppliers to better plan their operations and manage cashflow for the benefit of the business, families and communities.
“The emphasis of this workshop is for our producers to harness business opportunities and skills from the direct micro expelling technology and boost income generation for our network of coconut producing communities,” We’re optimistic that producers will be able to apply knowledge learned from this 3-day training in their own businesses KPSI managing director Bob Pollard said.
‘It’s also a good opportunity for producers to be updated on the current challenges we’re facing and future plans.”
KPSI has 1023 coconut farmers registered in their network of VCO producers, who, produce and sell certified organic VCO to KPSI. The training workshop complements other support provided by KPSI and partners on the technical aspects of VCO production – which ensures good quality product is delivered to market.
The Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA Plus), supported by Australia and New Zealand, provides assistance to KPSI to achieve and maintain its National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) organic certification for their VCO products. PHAMA Plus also previously assisted KPSI to achieve food safety certification to the internationally recognized HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) standard.
“Australia is pleased to support the development of Solomon Islands’ coconut industry through PHAMA Plus, providing technical assistance to exporting businesses in the industry to meet international standards and requirements that help to maintain and access new markets,” Australian High Commission First Secretary Louisa Macdonald Hall said while officially opening the workshop today.
“This targeted support towards export partners like KPSI allows for more export opportunities benefiting VCO producers and coconut farmers throughout Solomon Islands.”
On average, KPSI injects around SBD$3 million every year into the rural economy through purchase of VCO from producers. KPSI exports between 150 and 250 tonnes of Organic certified VCO every year.
Coconut production is important to livelihoods in Solomon Islands with as many as 40,000 households growing and harvesting coconut for cash and food. Coconut products are the country’s third largest export after timber and fish products.
*For more information, please contact PHAMA Plus Senior National Facilitator – Solomon Islands Peter Ramohia on firstname.lastname@example.org