IN­VEST­MENT:

Co­pra Millers in­stall $250,000 Vir­gin Co­conut Oil ma­chine

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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.”

Fu­ture Plans

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.

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