Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade

The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) pilot project aims to support commercial ventures and producer groups in becoming export-oriented, market-driven enterprises that will consistently supply overseas markets with competitive agricultural and forestry products. The project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji and started in May 2008.

Coconut Press: Sept 2012 edition
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 13:10

by Tevita Kete, Export Processing and Marketing Officer (value-added coconut products)

Asian and Pacific Coconut Community Cocotech Meeting
A Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) delegation consisting of representatives from two European Union (EU) funded trade projects attended the 45th Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) Cocotech meeting in Kochi, India, in July 2012.

Mr Samu Turagacati, team leader of Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT), and Mr Tevita Kete from Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) were invited to present a paper at the Cocotech meeting. The theme of this year’s meeting was ‘Inclusive growth and sustainable development of the coconut industry’.

The presentations highlighted the global increase in the value and volume of virgin coconut oil (VCO) and coconut sugar traded since the last Cocotech meeting in 2010.  Other high-value products gaining in popularity and demand, particularly in the US market, are coconut milk (promoted as a non-dairy product in many forms) and tender coconut water. All of these products are helping to dramatically change the image and value of coconuts in the international market place and are creating new and higher revenue opportunities for farmers and communities in coconut growing countries. Also of note is the increasing involvement of the private sector in India and Malaysia in producing and distributing hybrid coconut seedlings for commercial use. Providing planting material can be a costly burden on governments, particularly when seedlings are supplied free of charge. Private sector involvement is something worth exploring in the Pacific.

Some interesting technological innovations presented at the meeting included coconut climbing gear and equipment for producing husk and coir pith. These new technologies could be introduced in the Pacific to enhance profitability at the farm level.

Carbon footprint study commissioned for VCO
Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of how products are manufactured and transported in terms of their impact on CO2 emissions, climate change and environmental degradation. With this in mind the FACT project has commissioned a pilot study to look at the carbon footprint of VCO processing. The study is one of the first of its kind for the agricultural sector in the region. The evaluation, which began in mid-August, will involve working with experts from Australia, Philippines and SPC to evaluate  selected processing plants in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea, and Taveuni Island, Fiji.

Centrifuge equipment produces higher quality VCO
The FACT project financed and commissioned the Pacific’s first pilot centrifuge machine for producing VCO for one of its supported enterprises, Amruqa, which is based in Papua New Guinea. The equipment does not come cheap but it will dramatically improve the quality (viscosity, hygiene and shelf life) and volume of VCO processed and exported. These are some of the quality problems that processors in the region are struggling with. The centrifuge unit will also be used for training other interested processors in the region. Already the equipment is increasing Amruqa’s VCO processing, enabling the enterprise to better meet market demand in Asia, Europe and New Zealand.

Pacific coconut project inches closer to reality
A new Pacific Coconut Project to be funded by the EU through its Intra-ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States) Funds is moving closer to becoming a reality. The much-needed project will be looking at partnering with selected private sector entrepreneurs and community associations in a number of pilot countries (Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and one or two other countries) to process and export high-value coconut products to growing agri-based food industries in Western markets. The project concept was born during the SPC-APCC Round Table meeting in 2008, which was jointly funded by the FACT project and APCC. The Vanuatu Government, through its ambassador in Brussels (in addition to support from other ACP countries) has been instrumental in supporting the project proposal to its current stage.  The EU funded the consultancy and the development of the proposal by London-based senior EU consultant Mr Vinay Chand, who made several visits to the Pacific. Both FACT and IACT assisted in this study. Once approved and implemented, the project aims to remunerate farmers for their supply of raw materials at a considerably higher level than they currently earn from copra.      

For more information, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Export Processing and Marketing Officer (value-added coconut products) or email the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Caption: Mr Tevita Kete (left),  with the Chairperson of the inaugural Trade Pasifika show Mr Kaliopate Tavola (centre) and the President of Fiji Ratu Epeli Nailatikau (right) in Nadi in July.


The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of SPC.