RABI WOMAN WINS GRANT FOR COCONUT OIL VENTURE

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Plans to produce soap, lotion for marketing
By Maneesha Karan
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 28, 2011) - The plan to establish a factory
for virgin coconut oil production on Rabi Island is materializing for
World of Difference candidate Terikano Takesau when she received some
funds this week.

[PIR editor’s note: Rabi Island is a small island off the northeastern coast of Fiji’s Vanua Levu.]

Ms. Takesau, who initiated the project, received FJ$2,400 [US$1,300] from a Savusavu businessman for her FJ$24,000 [US$13,000] project.

"A factory will enable the community to generate more income and be able to meet the increasing market demand," Takesau said.

"Currently women are manually producing oil at home and whenever they can, but this is a drawback because we have received orders from companies."

They have received a monthly order of 1,000 liters by two companies.

Takesau also conducted a workshop whereby 80 participants from the island’s four villages were taught the process of producing virgin coconut oil, homemade soap and body lotions.

They also learnt skills to pack and label the products.

"The women have the skills to manually produce virgin oil, soap and, body lotion and using local fragrance.

"The trade has helped generate more income from fewer coconuts.

"For example 30 coconuts produce products and these include five 500ml virgin oil, which is sold at FJ$10 [US$5] each, two soap bars sold for FJ$3.20 each and two 250 ml lotion sold at FJ$9.50 each."

The project also included the planting of 160 coconut trees to support the ‘Planting one million trees’ campaign.

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