Coconut Training held to revive interest in industry

April 1, 2022

A week-long training to promote and create interest to rejuvenate the ailing coconut industry ended in Nailaga, Ba today (2.4.22).

With the theme of economically empowering and enhancing coconut knowledge base in communities in the rural communities, Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Viam Pillay said the training would provide knowledge and skills in whole nut processing and value adding.

“Apart from generating income, the coconuts help to sustain food and nutrition and alleviate poverty.

“The training also focuses on productivity on productivity and product diversification from traditional copra production to whole nut processing,” he said.

The Assistant Minister explained new market opportunities had emerged in high-value products such as virgin coconut oil (VCO), coconut water and coconut sugar, which became increasingly popular due to newly identified health benefits.

“A greater demand for these products, along with actions to address industry constraints, could pave the way for local economies and producer groups to benefit directly from higher whole-nut prices at lower production costs, when compared to copra sales,” Hon. Pillay said.

“Using the most appropriate technology and approach will enable producers, women’s groups in particular, to have a more integral role in coconut-related value chains, or even to sell to the final consumer market directly.”


Further, he said while coconut was by far an important agriculture crop in Fiji, the industry was far from reaching its full potential.


This shortcoming, the Assistant Minister added, had deep historical roots but was commonly associated with the decline of prices offered in the global market resulting in a drop in interest in the global market for copra, the crop’s main by-product.


“Other constraints to the industry’s development include, the age and productivity of coconut plantations, access to information and financing services for smallholders, the need for improved risk management, and a more supportive and coordinated national policy environment,” he said.


Almost 30 participants from Ba, Tavua, and Lautoka including staff from the Ministry of Agriculture attended the training.