Copra Millers install $250,000 Virgin Coconut Oil machine
Copra Millers of Fiji Limited (CMFL) has completed the construction of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) factory at Savusavu in Vanua Levu. The company had invested $250,000 in installing the VCO machine made up of stainless steel and it complies with food quality standards.
Copra Millers of Fiji Limited acting general manager John Deo said the construction of the factory took them ten weeks and installation of the machine and training took them one and half weeks with assistance from engineers from Malaysia. “The machines bought from Malaysia will produce virgin coconut oil, a new product for our company and our customers,” Mr Deo said.
“The process will involve de-husking, de-shelling, paring, grating, milking, three phase centrifuge, VCO extraction, filtering, vacuum drying and machine bottling and packing. The factory will be HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) compliance to ensure they meet the general manufacturing practices and the product quality is maintained consistent in each batches.
“We have recruited a coconut specialist from India to head the VCO production,” he said. “The training to employees is provided by engineers from our VCO machine supplier.
“We are involving all our factory staffs in the VCO production for on job training and upgrading their skills.”
Benefits of VCO factory
Mr Deo said the purpose of introducing this product was to improve the financial performance of their company and also revitalise the coconut industry. “The change from farmers will be from traditional copra cutting to supplying whole coconuts to our factory and machines will do the job,” he said.
“We have seen a lot of interest from farmers on the whole coconut supply concept. The Copra farmers in Vanua Levu will have a choice of supplying whole coconuts to VCO factory where machines will carry out the entire required task.
“We have identified few local markets and potential buyer in New Zealand,” he said. “We have lots of enquiries from potential buyers overseas and we will send VCO sample and test results to them to confirm the quality and price they are willing to pay.”
The company’s future plan is to develop the factory into whole coconut processing facility whereby all parts of whole coconut will be used to make products.
“We have started with virgin coconut oil and gradually invest into machines for processing husks, shell, water, fibre and feed,” he added. In view of zero waste concept, they are planning to have a small scale poultry and duck farm at the factory managed by the staff association and on profit sharing basis.
Copra Millers of Fiji Limited (CMFL) employee de-husking coconut at the Virgin Coconut Oil factory at Savusavu in Vanua Levu.