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Strategic Efforts Taken In Fiji To Make Coconut Industry Globally Competitive

Despite the achievements made in replanting and new planting of coconut in Fiji over the last decade, land use changes and also extensive logging for manufacturing coconut furniture have resulted in a steady reduction in the area devoted to coconut farming. The demand for coconut products is for domestic consumption as well as export. The domestic consumption is estimated at 11,000 tons of copra equivalent per annum which is on the increase at the annual rate of 195 tons. The export demand is mainly for copra and coconut oil and the overseas markets can absorb more than the present export volume. Other products exported in small quantities are coconut wood furniture, organic soap, cold pressed oil, etc. Low profitability of coconut farming caused by high production cost, low selling prices and low productivity are the major constraints to the growth of coconut industry. Hybrid seed production has received higher priority in the country and since 1994 over one million seed nuts could be distributed. Similarly coconut based farming systems are being promoted in a systematic manner. Product diversification by evolving and adapting low cost technologies is also a major thrust area. Processors associated with coconut industry are now eligible for many concessions. The existing coconut mill functions as a semi-government enterprise. Similarly the coconut cream unit is fully owned and managed by the government. Research gaps, the needed research activities and future strategy for revitalizing the coconut industry in Fiji have been discussed.

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