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Plant to be established in Malaita

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 26, 2008) - A multi-million-dollar investment in the coconut industry is about to be established in the Solomon Islands to help local copra producers.

An Australian-based company has planned to set up a coconut crushing machine for down stream processing here.

The company is called SP Sol International Pty Limited.

Director of the company Kumar Sundarakumar said the establishment of the processing plant should bring greater benefits to copra producers in the country.

Mr Sundarakumar is currently in Honiara to finalise formalities.

Originally from Sir Lanka, Mr Sundarakumar now lives in Australia.

"This is going to be a very expensive investment and we are taking risks to come here and prepare to work with the people of this country," he said.

SP Sol International Pty Ltd is now a registered company in Solomon Islands after applying for a business license. The company is the business arm of the Australian-based company SP International Pty Ltd. Their focus is on down stream processing by producing oil and other coconut related products in the country.

He wants to do away with the normal practice of exporting copra overseas.

For a start he is buying copra at Point Cruz and shipped overseas for processing.

But the future plan now is to expand in the country, he said.

The first plan is to establish a copra processing machine at Bina Harbour in the Malaita Province before expanding to Guadalcanal and other provinces.

One processing plant can produce 50 tonnes of coconut oil per day.

Malaita was chosen because of its increased production of copra each year.

He said once all the machines are established around the country copra producers will be

"This is to help the local farmers and the economy," Mr Sundarakumar said.

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