Suva, FIJI, 12 August 2012/ FS: A Pacific Coconut Development Project is moving closer to becoming a reality following a successful meeting in Brusselsbetween Fiji’s Ambassador to the European Union, Peceli Vocea, with other African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP Group)Representatives, the European Commission, the ACP Secretariat and the European Union Delegation from Suva.

In a Government release the European Commission has confirmed that the draft Final Report submitted by Ambassador Vocea together with other Pacific and ACP Representatives has now been approved after a final vetting process by the commission.

The report will be tabled for funding approval by the EC after the summer break in August 2012.

The Pacific Coconut Development project proposal is an ambitious and forward-looking development initiative which takes coconut-based manufacturing to a higher level by incorporating value-adding processes into the production chain.

It supports Pacific economies to export value-added coconut-based products (e.g. soft vegetarian cheese, coconut yoghurt, high quality oil, protein, flour, chips, cream, and milk powder) and help reduce high fuel import bills by using coconut oil-fuelled power generators in rural areas.

The idea is to also promote rural electrification programmes and rural development objectives.

The project will utilise community-based networks (planting, harvesting) in the production chain which guarantees that the benefits are filtered down to the basic economic units in rural areas.

Fiji has been identified to become part of the four pilot countries, together with Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

– Ellen Stolz, Fiji Sun