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 supports development of Virgin Coconut Oil
Tuesday, 27 July 2010 11:42


A three-day workshop on quality assurance and processing standard of virgin coconut oil (VCO) was conducted at Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Community Education and Training Centre in Narere, Nasinu (Fiji) from 21st to 23rd June, 2010.The workshop which was funded by European Union and Facilitated by SPC’s Land Resources Division (LRD) had 18 participants from Fiji including Rabi Island.

Free Lance International Consultant on Coconut Processing and Utilization DIVINA D. BAWALAN from Philippines, conducted the training with support from EU funded Facilitating Agriculture Commodity Trade (FACT) project staff.

According to Ms Bawalan, the Roundtable Meeting on the State of the Art of Coconut Processing and Market Prospects of Coconut Products in the Pacific Countries held in Fiji on June 17 -18, last year highlighted the need of Pacific Countries to focus on the production of high value products for livelihood enhancement.

“As a result of that consultation, FACT project within the Land Resource Division of SPC progressed with development of VCO in the Pacific by organising a basic VCO production course in Fiji and Kiribati last year.”

“The current training course is a follow-up from that basic training module on the Processing of VCO, its By-Products and Downstream Products.” Ms Bawalan said.

“While the previous course covered technology transfer on the micro and home scale processing of VCO and other coconut based processing technologies, the current course focused on the good manufacturing practices and quality assurance system that needs to be applied in the processing of VCO to meet international standards.”

Ms Bawalan added that understanding Coconut Oil and Its Quality Parameters, that entails physical and chemical characteristics of coconut oil is very important because standards of VCO are directly related to it.

“Also having sound understanding of the technology involved will enable them to attend to queries raised by their buyers.”

Dr Lex Thomson, Team leader of FACT project assured the participants that SPC FACT strongly supports VCO production in the Pacific including Fiji.

“SPC FACT is committed to develop VCO not only in Fiji but in the Pacific as this will not only benefit the private sector but also the grass roots.”

“One thing about VCO, it could even be produced by the women in the most remote parts of Fiji - there is no necessity for big capital and machines using the fermentation method.” Dr Thomson said

Dr Thomson also said FACT project is providing technical assistance to several private entrepreneurs through EU support, including especially Origins Pacific Ltd here in Fiji and Pacific Spices in PNG.

“FACT is also supporting the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification, a food safety process, which is now one of the requirements demanded by the market.”

“A value chain study on VCO will soon be undertaken in Fiji with assistance from FAO and University of Adelaide partners,” Dr Thomson said.

He acknowledged the support of European Union through Pacific Regional Economic Integration Program, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Ministry of Primary Industries for promoting the development of VCO in Fiji.

The EU-funded FACT project aims to sustainably increase the quality and range of exports of Pacific agriculture and forestry products, and to contribute to the integration of the 14 Pacific ACP countries into the regional and global economy.

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.