Posts Categorized: Copra

Local company works to improve copra quality

By Ishmael Palipal

Officers from KIK and DPI with Tambolema Copra Exporters conducting awareness on the best ways of producing Export Quality Copra in NumaNuma, Wakunai. Photo courtesy of New Dawn FM Officers from KIK and DPI with Tambolema Copra Exporters conducting awareness on the best ways of producing Export Quality Copra in NumaNuma, Wakunai. Photo courtesy of New Dawn FM

Copra is the backbone of many Bougainvilleans, a commodity that has been financing majority of the population that lives along the flatlands, especially the coastlines of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Many of the local farmers, however, have not had the knowledge to properly prepare copra to the quality required for international exports.

To help them achieve that, a local company, Tambolema Copra Exports, has recently been carrying out awareness throughout the region.

The company is the first local copra exporter that is carrying out awareness, workshops and training to the locals, with the aim of organizing and supporting these local suppliers to produce best quality products.

Copra is AROB’s backbone. Pictured are boat loads of copra waiting to be loaded onto a truck. Copra is AROB’s backbone. Pictured are boat loads of copra waiting to be loaded onto a truck.

The company apart from trainings also aims to support improve the local copra dryers, so that high quality can be achieved.

The company support to the locals especially from the Central Bougainville was commended by many locals who were privileged to attend these trainings or workshops that was conducted in partnership with the Department of Primary Industry (DPI) and Kokonas Indastri Koporetion (KIK).

KIK is a regulating body that makes sure exporters maintain top quality and quantity for exporting to overseas buyers. It works in support of Tambolema Copra Exporters in order to help the locals.

Tambolema also is up-skilling the locals because they believe that with the improve quality of dried copra, the quality export overseas will benefit the people and support the economic recovery program of the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

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Copra price rise good for local coconut farmers

By Ishmael Palipal

 

Trucks line up to sell their copra in front of Buka wharf Trucks line up to sell their copra in front of Buka wharf

The rising copra price has been welcomed by many coconut farmers from Buka Island and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville as a whole.

Copra buyers in Buka are testing different marketing techniques to get more copra sellers. The copra buyers are trying to attract customers through special prices and promotions, such as rebates to farmers by the end of the year if they provide original receipts or special prices for those who sell 30 or more copra bags.

The rising price has also resulted in long queues of cars and trucks made by local farmers carrying loads of copra from around Bougainville. The trucks and cars have being lining in front of Buka Pristine 101 copra mill gate towards the  another Buka wharf gate in front of Buka Police Station.

One coconut farmer from Malasang, Buka Island, stated that the rise in price is a relief for hard working farmers.

Copra making is one of the hardest cash crop production processes and it can take a person a person about one or two weeks of continuous work to put the coconut in for drying in the copra drier. This is a very lengthy process that many villagers go through in order to earn income.

The process of making copra starts with clearing the bush under coconut trees, if coconut trees are overgrown with bushes or grass, then the coconuts are collected into groups and they are then husked one by one. Some people go straight to breaking and removing the coconut meat inside without husking, but this also depends mostly on the size of wire used to dry the coconut meat.

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After husking the coconut skin, the next process is to break or cut open the coconut in the middle, remove water and then undertaking the laborious job of carrying the cut coconuts to the drier.

Wood must then be found to make a fire to dry the coconuts or, alternatively, many people use the previously removed coconut shell to dry their coconut.

The fire must be watched after it is lit in case fire can catch through coconut oil drifting or small leftover coconut husk. After some time the coconut on the top and bottom must be rotated to ensure it is all dried well.

This can take between two and three days depending on the amount of coconut to be dried.

After the coconuts are dried, the next part is the separating of the meat from the coconut shell. Once the shell is removed, the next and final step is to put them into copra sacks and compact them into certain kilograms, ready for sale.

I have experienced the toughness of making copra myself.  If the price is low and you are making copra, you will sweat more and earn less, but the increase in price has been good for the farmers because their hard work will be rewarded more.

One person alone cannot do all this work, it takes the effort of a whole community, unless one is very experienced.

 

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