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.

SPC sponsors attendance of three private sector representatives at COCOTECH meeting
Thursday, 05 August 2010 08:57


The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Land Resources Division (LRD), through its European Union-funded FACT (Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade) project, recently sponsored the attendance of a Pacific Islands private sector delegation at the 44th Asia Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) COCOTECH meeting in Thailand.

The delegation comprised Sharmayne Ryan from Follywell No. 6 Limited, PNG; Gary Tarte of Wainiyaku Estates, Fiji; Peni Drodrolagi of Origins Pacific Limited, Fiji; and Tevita Kete of SPC LRD.

Mr Kete also presented a paper to the COCOTECH meeting on the role that FACT plays in promoting the trade of high value coconut products from the Pacific region.

The three enterprises that participated are currently being assisted under the FACT project, and notably, all are successfully exporting virgin coconut oil to Australian, European and Asian markets.

The delegation’s presentations also provided interesting insights into the positive impacts the businesses have in communities, especially in terms of generating employment and providing a local market for the whole nut (which sells for a higher price than copra).

‘Demonstration of such social services is being increasingly demanded by educated consumers in the western world,’ Mr Kete said.

SPC, through FACT and the new Increasing  Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT)  project, is looking at establishing integrated processing models for coconut for further enhancing trade in value-added coconut products.

‘The involvement of these enthusiastic and capable coconut industry representatives is a vital part of this effort, as they are the ones who are actually doing the work and they can better evaluate new and different technologies that would be applicable in the Pacific context.’

‘In addition to participating in the COCOTECH meeting, the participants also visited a fabricator of virgin coconut oil equipment and a retailer of packaging bottles in Bangkok city,’ Mr Kete said

These visits, he added, allowed them to appreciate the range, prices and scale of different equipment that could boost production.

Following the meeting, Mr Drodrolagi and Mr Kete visited the Philippines to observe coconut sugar and flour production.

‘These two products are currently exported to US and Australian health food shops. Initial trials have revealed that coconut sugar has a low glycemic index and coconut flour has high rates of fiber and protein and is also gluten free.’

‘Apart from these products it was interesting to note the development of a kerosene-type product using coconut oil as its base,’ Mr Kete said.

Other visits and meetings by the delegates related to the production of coconut vinegar and wine and the use of centrifuges for the production of virgin coconut oil.

The information acquired from these meetings and visits will be shared with other interested Pacific coconut producers.

The team expressed its appreciation to SPC -LRD for supporting this useful trip.

SPC acknowledged the support of APCC, Fiji Islands Department of Agriculture, the Government of Thailand, the Philippines Coconut Authority, the Philippines Department of Science and Technology and International Coconut Consultant Divina Bawalan in facilitating this visit.

For further information please contact Vinesh Prasad on telephone (679)3370733 or email LRD Help Desk on email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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