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Tuesday, 24 April 2018 11:10

Building on the groundwork of the CIDP Value Chain Working Group Meeting held in December 2017, the PIFON consultancy team for CIDP has recently commenced an in-depth analysis of the high grade copra oil value chain using Chottu and Co. of Solomon Islands as the case study.

According to findings from the recent coconut market study, also a component of CIDP, copra oil and copra have been, and continue to be, the core export market for most Pacific Island coconut industries. Recent years have seen a more favourable market situation for the traditional Pacific Island countries’ coconut export products of copra and coconut oil, with prices reaching record levels. When it comes to copra exports, Pacific Island countries remain a major player – making up over 50% of world exports (with Papua New Guinea being the world’s largest copra exporter). They are, however, unfortunately also ranked as the most unstable of all agricultural commodities, which Pacific copra farmers and millers are already aware of.

For most industrial and commercial uses other than food, high quality copra oil is a suitable substitute for virgin coconut oil (VCO). Several countries, including Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, use small-scale copra mills to produce high quality copra oil for a variety of markets. With high quality copra, meeting quality standards for oil can be much easier than achieving consistent quality marks across multiple small/medium scale VCO mills.

A value chain roadmap for producing high grade copra oil produced with small-scale Tinytech (or similar) mills under the SPC-CIDP programme is currently being prepared, using the tool ‘Agricultural Value Chain Guide for the Pacific Islands: Making value chain analysis a useful tool in the hands of farmers, traders and policy makers’. This will focus specifically on the case study of the Chottu and Co. value chain, with an emphasis on the domestic market.