Driven by the people themselves, in other words,
projects that empower.
Salvage Value Project
This project is supported by the Australian Government and implemented by Niulife Foundation.
Since about 2014, the Honiara area in the Solomon Islands has been severely impacted by an invasive species of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB). By mid-2018 the number of coconut palms in the area had declined by 75%. This biosecurity crisis has attracted international attention.
The CTC joined the Biosecurity Solomon Islands (BSI) CRB Task Force and through the Niulife Foundation arranged the analysis of a time-series of satellite images which verified the extent of damage. This led to further background research and development on methods to convert dead palms into craft products, charcoal and biochar.
This attempt to obtain salvage value from the dead palms started in August 2017 and was initially funded by the Foundation. On 1st March 2019, after applying for and being granted funding through the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade's (DFAT) Innovation Exchange (iXc), the Niulife Foundation signed an agreement for an 18-month Coconut Salvage Value project.
Coconut Technology Centre
The Niulife Foundation’s first project was the establishment of the Coconut Technology Centre (CTC) in 2014, located at Lunga, near Honiara’s international airport, Solomon Islands.
The Coconut Technology Centre (CTC) is entirely dedicated to coconut. The CTC trains new coconut farmers & virgin coconut oil (VCO) producers in basic business principles, hygiene, best-practice procedures, coconut nursery management, and sustainable food production systems.
It also provides training in Direct Micro Expelling (DME®), complying with the internationally accepted protocols for Organic Certification and Fair Trade. DME units are businesses which produce VCO, run by village-based communities, families and coconut farmers throughout the Solomon Islands. To meet these requirements, the CTC established an on-site DME® unit, developed and trained extension support workers so that an Internal Control System is maintained.
CTC has operated a village youth training scheme, hosts local and international visitors, and employs people with disabilities. It is actively involved in craft activities, coconut shell bowl production and the re-design and scheduling of the replanting program for senile palms.
These programs have not only resulted in better run businesses but the increase in incomes has also led to improved housing, education and health outcomes.
The CTC also researches appropriate technologies of all sorts and produces VCO as a significant income stream. Its main financial support comes from the Niulife Foundation.
“Alongside the Producers’ Association and Kokonut Pacific the CTC Foundation is an important part of the jigsaw in helping us (KPSI) to achieve the potential of the coconut industry,” said Eric Notere, Financial Controller of Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands (2016).
Dr Mike Foale, who conducted coconut research in the Russell Islands from 1959 to 1968, said, “This is a welcome opportunity to re-visit my passion for coconut products which started with the collaboration of Levers and the Solomon Islands Government in the 1960. I’m looking forward to contributing further to the country which I and my family love dearly”.
The CTC is registered as a charitable trust in the Solomon Islands. The seven trustees of the CTC include people nominated by Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands, Kokonut Pacific (Australia) and the Virgin Coconut Oil Producers Association.
The Niulife Foundation funded the initial building of the CTC facilities and continues to support its ongoing administration.