Pacific Community Says Pacific Coconut Production Limited, Needs Work To Reach Rising Economic Potential

Pacific's main export is coconut oil but increasingly being used for gluten free flour, cosmetics, and hi-tech extracts for the health industry

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 20, 2017) – A lot more work needs to be done to harness the rising economic potential of coconuts, according to the Pacific Community.

Coconut industry representatives from a number of Pacific countries were in Thailand last week to learn how Asian countries have formed their coconut industries.

The head of the SPC's coconut industry development programme, Karen Mapusua, said the Pacific's coconut production is currently very limited, and expanding it could prove very lucrative.

She said beyond coconut oil - the Pacific's main export - it was increasingly being used as gluten free flour, cosmetics, as well as hi-tech extracts for the health industry.

"I think we're just at the beginning in the Pacific. We still are focussing very much on the coconut oil - both copra and virgin coconut oil - but at the moment we're not doing terribly much in downstream processing of those two products. So I think we've got a lot of scope to develop," she said.

"It will take time, of course, because new technology and new processing takes investment and it takes research."

Karen Mapusua said it would take a great commitment to move the Pacific coconut industry forward.

Radio New Zealand International
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