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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, March 6) — Several Taiwanese companies are interested in expanding the Noni Palau Farm, saying that the country’s environment is "very impressive" and can produce quality noni.

Officials of Chia Meei Group, Kuang Chuan Diary Ltd., Poplar Co. Ltd. and ITAI Engineering & Construction Co. visited Palau recently to look into the possibility of a partnership with the Ngaremlengui state for potential expansion of the local noni market which will be promoted in Taiwan.

The companies said they have been very impressed with Palau’s environment, which they described as still "unspoiled, uncontaminated and unpolluted."

[PIR editor’s note: The noni or morinda plant is a tropical tree that grows to about 10 feet tall in Tahiti and other Pacific Islands, as well as in parts of Asia, Australia, South America and the Caribbean. It bears a fruit about the size of a potato that starts out green, then ripens into yellow or white. The juice, fruit, bark, and leaves are used in herbal remedies and Polynesian folk medicine. At the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, at the University of Hawaii, a two-year study is underway to determine if noni might be effective in the treatment of cancer.]

The group said they are serious in their interest in expanding the partnership with Ngaremlengui and will carry out a feasibility study right away regarding investments in Palau for noni farming and processing.

Chia Meei Group, Kuang Chuan Diary Co. and Poplar Co. Ltd. are leading juice and food processing companies in Taiwan.

ITA’s activities are focused on engineering and construction.

The companies said Palau’s noni industry helps ensure that the country’s environment and unspoiled beauty will also be promoted.

President Tommy Remengesau said 200 acres of land are now being cultivated for noni fruit.

Noni juice is said to be a nutritional drink with various health benefits.

March 6, 2006

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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