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Strategies For Enhancing Productivity And Income Of Coconut Farmers In Kiribati

Copra has been the only export product in Kiribati for a long time but now other products are being made with the setting up o f a new oil mill and soap plant in Tarawa, Kiribati. The government view the coconut industry as an important means to ensure equitable distribution of prosperity and as such made appropriate policy commitments to encourage copra production to increase the income of the coconut farmers. The paper highlights the state of the coconut situation and production in Kiribati where more than 50% of coconut trees are senile and unproductive. The paper indicates other problems facing the industry such as nutrient deficiencies, ship rates and land ownership. On an average, the copra production per annum is around 8,500 MT and research efforts are going on to improve coconut variety by cross breeding, nutrition enhancement and composting. Besides copra, other products are now being manufactured such as filtered coconut oil, copra meal, refined oil, soaps and shampoo which are being sold to New Zealand, Singapore and Europe. In future, other products such as coconut milk, liquor, feed and bio diesel are being planned. There is need for improving copra production, storage and efficient transport of copra from village to village and from outer islands as well as the need for training, quality control for soap products and market promotional activities.

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