My name is Chris Fidelis, 36, and a Papua New Guinean citizen. I am a graduate of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) University of Technology with a Master of Philosophy Degree in Agriculture and currently employed by the PNG Cocoa Coconut Institute as an Agronomist.
I undertake research on cocoa and coconut rehabilitation, on-farm trials, fertilizer trials and cocoa, and coconut-based farming systems. I own a coconut farm and so do my family and the surrounding communities.
I have recently registered my private business: Pacific Agriculture Support Services (PASS) as part of my business plan to process and supply coconut oil.
Processing Value-added Coconut Oil
Coconut, the ‘Tree of Life’ is the most abundant, low-input, sustainable-agriculture resource, and a primary source of income for farmers in the East New Britain Province (ENBP) of PNG.
Due to continuous yearly decline in copra prices, I am focusing on producing coconut oil to supply local and overseas markets.
In my project, I will use the direct micro-expelling or DME technique to produce coconut oil.
The process bypasses the tedious process of making copra, to produce high quality value-added coconut oil or VCO for short.
Basically, the process involves collection of dried matured nuts and de-husking, breaking the nuts, and scraping the flesh.
After scraping, the product will be dried to reduce the moisture content before extracting the oil. The oil obtained will be deodorized by slowly heating it in 50% water to remove unwanted coconut odour and to sterilize the oil.
The oil will be physically refined through settling and filtrating to remove suspended fine particles. The final product will be bottled as VCO for marketing.
I plan to establish my VCO production facility that would reduce production costs for farmers involved in processing and transport of copra.
The project is realistic and eco-sustainable as nuts are continuously falling from existing trees without the need of clearing new land for planting.
Coconut wastes will be left to decay on farms compared to their common use for heat generation in copra processing. Such VCO facilities are also unavailable at my target location in ENBP, PNG.
The desire to own and operate a private business earlier in life has motivated me to produce this submission.
The daily struggles of local coconut farmers associated with producing and selling copra, and the low price offered by major buyers is another motivating factor. I am also motivated because there is high demand locally and internationally for VCO and also coconut oil has been proven to have nutritional and medical values.
My facility will process at a rate of 10 nuts per litre (L) VCO. Based on this, 300 nuts will be processed per day for five days in a week to give 150 L VCO.
I hope to produce up to 600 litres of VCO every month for six months.
The projected gross revenue will be USD 25,200 (priced at USD 7 per litre) and the net profit will be USD 10,200. The current average disposable income of farmers is USD 3.5 per day and the project is expected to increase this by 50%.
First, I have already cleared and prepared the building site and will need to construct a small building that has a corrugated roof to house equipment and workers.
Second, I will purchase a coconut oil hydraulic press, coconut flesh shredder, and purchase materials to fabricate a drying plate and scraper. These are the VCO processing equipment.
Third, my family is already a partner and I have identified other farmers through government extension networks. I will need to make agreements with them for pricing and supply of undried coconut flesh.
I have also researched and identified interest from local and international buyers. I have to confirm their requirements and make agreements.
Finally, I will purchase nuts and/or undried coconut flesh and process VCO.
The measurable success factors for my project will be the volume of undried coconut flesh purchased and/or processed; volume of coconut oil produced and sold or exported every month including the net profits generated against expenses.
My business is just establishing itself and I will meet the costs of all minor labour and some building materials. I already have tools and other equipment required to construct the building. However, I would need the grant to fund:
- Facility infrastructural work – USD 1,000 to spend between Months 1 and 4
- Processing equipment (purchase & fabrication) – USD 2,000 to spend between Months 3 and 6
- Purchase of raw materials – USD 900 to spend between Months 7 and 12
- Labour (processing VCO) – USD 700 to spend between Months 7 and 12
- Miscellaneous (travel, packaging & marketing costs) – US$400 to spend between Months 7 and 12
Blogpost and picture submitted by Chris Fidelis (Papua New Guinea): pacificagriculture15[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
Illustration courtesy of Donald Sogovare, PNGCCIL
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