KOKONAS Indastri Koporesen (KIK) continues to support local coconut farmers through increased high value coconut prod- uct (HVCP) training programmes and technical advice in Southern Region to venture into commercial production.

The training programmes which initially started in 2017 targeted mainly students, teachers and village farmers in Central.

Senior coconut development officer for Southern Region James Maora said the main aim of the HVCP training was to equip farmers with skills so that they could produce more than just copra. This would in turn assist them to sustain their living. Traditionally coconut farmers only knew about marketing copra as a commercial product from coconut.

“However, there is more to it than just copra. Coconut can be used to make various fashion products including coconut oil, soap, shampoo, body oil, lotions and creams.

“There are also other fashion accessories made from coconut shell such as bracelets, bucklers, ear rings and necklaces of different types.

“Also charcoal, coconut sugar, shoes, and coconut cooking oil can be made from coconut. These are some of the untouched business prospects which we are providing technical advice and training for so our farmers can tap into it,” he said.

Maora said the training also involved teaching on intercropping methods and coconut replanting programmes for new farmers.

“The inter-cropping methods will ensure that farmers retain their daily food crops apart from growing coconut for commercial purposes only,” he said.

Maora said KIK also supported farmers in terms of laboratory test- ing, packaging and securing markets for the finished products.

“When we see a farmer produce a certain coconut product, we then ensure that it is safe for human consumption because health is our top priority. “We also visit, assess, and conduct laboratory testing on site.

“If the product is of high quality, then we register it under Small to Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and assist in branding, labelling, packaging, accreditation and market accessibility for the product,” he said.

Coconut development officer Steven Pasu said so far, KIK Southern Region had conducted training programmes in the districts of Abau (Cloudy Bay) and Rigo (Kwikila).

“The upcoming training programmes will be held in Kerema-Gulf, Ianu High School Abau district, and Mt Diamond Secondary School-Hiri district. We encourage local coconut growers to attend, as this is important.

“We also would like to call on interested farmers to come forward if they require training, packaging or product testing,” Pasu said.

KIK have  currently   registered 18 MSMEs which are producers of HVCP. According to KIK these co- conut MSMEs had been promoting and selling their products at various conventions and trade shows within PNG and overseas. A few have gained market confidence after improving their product quality, labelling and packaging through the support from KIK and the Australian government under the Phama plus programme. About four MSMEs partners have certified their products with the Haz- ard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and these include; Weni and Mendal producing Areka brand prod- ucts – East Sepik based; Tropic Fonds producing Niugini Organics brands – Rabaul based; Rabaul Virgin Coconut Oil – Rabaul based; and, Aroma Coco- nut Products producing Aromantic brands – Central based.

To purchase or place an order, check out the KIK product-based provinces in East New Britain, East Sepik, West Sepik, Madang, New Ireland and Port Moresby. For more information visit the KIK website and social media page. You can contact KIK on telephone: 321 1133, email: infor@kik.com.pg, website: www.kik.com.pg and face book page: @kikpng.

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