Coconut is an important crop in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the industry contributes to the PNG national economy through the provision of employment and income for rural households; and generation of revenue from exporting copra, crude coconut oil, copra meal and virgin coconut oil.
Unlike other cash crops, all parts of the coconut are fully utilized. The leaves are used to build shelter, weave mats and make brooms, husk and shells used as fuel, water for drinking and the kernel consumed as food or used for production of copra and other high value coconut products.
The coconut industry over many decades has been focused on production and export of traditional products such as black copra, copra oil and copra meal. The industry has now shifted away from the traditional products to downstream processing and value addition in the last seven years, this now sees the production of white copra and value-added products like virgin coconut oil and its derivatives such as coconut soap, hair and body oils and lotions, cooking oil and flour.
Kokonas Indastri Koporesen (KIK) Managing Director, Alan Aku said, “The industry is moving at a very fast pace, and to ensure that we continue to contribute immensely to our national economy, our office must be visible and accessible to coconut farmers, stakeholders and the general public.”
“We have now opened our first regional office in Kokopo to serve the New Guinea Islands (NGI) region because of the fact that East New Britain has always been the hub for most coconut activities in NGI. The office will serve West New Britain, New Ireland, Manus and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, in implementing our programs and project activities which include awareness, training of farmers, nursery establishment and management, replanting and new plantings on farmers’ blocks, appraisal of plantations and smallholder blocks, improving copra quality (white copra) and drying facilities, establishment of new seed gardens and administration.” adds Aku.
This regional office will also house KIK’s subsidiary, Coconut Resource Limited (CRL) who is responsible for the buying and selling of white copra. Just into the first year of operation, CRL has exported 700 metric tones of white copra to the overseas market bringing close K4 million into the economy.
The knowledge of producing and selling white copra is slowing gaining momentum in the coconut growing provinces around the country. Through awareness and trainings conducted by KIK’s extension officers, we aim to increase production and export of white copra.
KIK plans to open two other regional offices in Madang for the Momase region and in National Capital District for the Southern region. This will enable easy access for our people and especially the coconut farmers.