A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
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Sunday, November 06, 2005
Posted 6:45 PM by Luigi
Downstreaming the coconut in PNG
SENIORL ANZU of NARI profiles Peter Linibi, a Morobe village farmer who gets the most out of coconuts. From The National.
COCONUTS have been used in Papua New Guinea for eating and cooking for ages.
The tender nuts, “kulaus,” provide refreshing healthy drinks while mature nuts or “drai” when scraped, its juice squeezed over food enhances its flavour.
But an innovative farmer from Morobe’s Markham Valley says that the mature nuts can give village households so much more.Peter Linibi, a model farmer from Mutzin in the Umi-Atzera area said mature nuts can be processed into a number of essential and economic products such as kerosene, cooking oil and soap. He said people must be taught the skills and techniques in simple downstream processing for basic household goods.
Peter produces these goods to support his family and also trains farmers to make home-made products from mature coconuts.
He does this through a contractual arrangement with Lae’s Support Services Contract Facility (SSCF), funded by the Asian Development Bank.
“I do basics in downstream processing of coconut. I do kerosene, cooking oil, soap and others. I also help the village people to make theirs,” Mr Linibi said. He said to make kerosene, mature nuts are grated into silts and dried in the sun for about two hours. The silts are then pressed in an oil press and the oil extracted can be used in a lamp.
Mr Linibi said: “You get the oil and use it directly - simple as that. You do not need to add anything else, the pure coconut oil is okay for burning, and burns like those from the store.”
To get cooking oil, the extracted oil is kept overnight. This allows the residue to sink to the bottom. The deodorised oil is then mixed with water, 50% of water to oil. The mixture is then boiled slowly to allow the water to evaporate and you have nice clean oil for cooking. This again does not need preservatives.For soap, the pressed silt is mixed with costic soda and rainwater. This soap can be used for laundry, both in freshwater and seawater.
The residue is also useful. “We turn the residue into coconut cakes, coconut biscuits, pan cakes, cookies and candies - with the addition of flour and some baking or frying with coconut oil.
Stockfeed is another valuable product derived from the residue,” Mr Linibi said. Oil press, the machine used to press coconut silts to extract oil is built and sold by Project Support Services priced between K750 to K1000. Mr Linibi said he uses simple methods of grating, squizzing and mixing to demonstrate to village people who cannot afford a manufactured oil press. Once a policemen, Linibi says he has no regrets about quitting his job to return to the village with his wife, also a former public servant, to work with farmers and serve the community.
What they enjoy most is to see rural farmers become innovative and self-reliant. Maria has been engaged in other SSCF projects to train farmers on various agricultural activities. Together they have passed a wealth of knowledge and skills to many farmers in the country. Mr Linibi has trained well over 200 farmers on downstream processing of coconut in Morobe, Sandaun and Western Highlands provinces. He has also put on a lot of displays and demonstrations to promote coconut based products in many shows and field days. Recently, he was invited to display some of them at the Cocoa Coconut Institute’s (CCI) Field Day in Madang. With the current price hikes on kerosene and fuel villagers need cheaper alternatives for domestic use and downstream processing of the coconut is the way to go.Mr Linibi is encouraging families to uphold this activity. They use the what they need and sell the surplus to earn an income.
Mr Linibi said there is a big demand for coconut oil overseas with requests coming from as far as the Netherlands, Germany, Australia and the United States.
He said the emphasis now is to train local people who own plantations to realise the importance of these products (coconut oil), adopt the technology and tap into export market potentials.
Given that copra prices are currently not attractive, people with coconut plantations have this alternative which can improve village livelihoods in many ways. The Linibis are model farmers fairly known in the agriculture sector in PNG and abroad. They represent smallholder farmers in various collaborative initiatives in research and extension. Some of the organisations they work with include SSCF, CCI, the National Agricultural Research Institute, the Department of Agriculture and Livestock and the Fresh Produce Development Agency.
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