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. Read more at these links...
Coconut Technology Centre
The Foundation’s first project was the construction and establishment of the Coconut Technology Centre (CTC) in 2014, located at Lunga, near Honiara’s international airport, Solomon Islands. The CTC is entirely dedicated to coconut.
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.
CTC has operated a village youth training scheme, hosts local and international visitors, and employs folk with disabilities.
“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).
The Niulife Foundation funded the initial building of the CTC facilities and continues to support its ongoing administration.
Rural Advisory Service
The CTC Rural Advsory Service (RAS) was set up to train new Direct Micro Expelling (DME) Unit owners, in basic business principles, hygiene, best-practice procedures, and sustainable food production systems. It also oversees the installation of DME Units. DME Units are businesses which produce virgin coconut oil (VCO), run by village-based communities, families and coconut farmers throughout the Solomon Islands.
The RAS provides training in DME complying with the internationally accepted protocols for Organic Certification and Fair Trade. To meet these requirements the CTC built an on-site DME Unit, funded by the Foundation, to train their extension support workers so that an Internal Control System is maintained.
The RAS is contracted to Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands and carries out the abovementioned functions.
The production and sale of charcoal stoves started in 2015 as a way of providing a healthier mode of cooking than smoky firewood which is a major cause of respiratory illness in the Solomons.
These are made using concrete & steel. The stoves are marketed via the Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands (KPSI) Facebook page and sold at the markets. Sales were steady until the CoVID-19 pandemic when they sky-rocketed as city workers returned to their respective villages from the capital city Honiara during lockdown, taking with them knowledge and awareness of the health benefits of cooking with charcoal instead of wood. There is less smoke, the pots are not blackened, making them easier to clean, and the food tastes better. The sale of charcoal and Charcoal Stoves soon increased significantly.
Read more at these two News articles: Locals turn to healthier mode of cooking during CoVID-19 lock-down and
CTC produces charcoal for sale using coconut wood donated by BSI which were salvaged from dead palms infected by the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. This attempt to obtain salvage value from the dead palms started in August 2017 and was funded by the Foundation for nearly two years. Then on 1 March 2019 the Foundation signed an agreement for an 18-month Coconut Salvage Value Project funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade’s (DFAT) Innovation Exchange (iXc).
The charcoal produced at the CTC is sold at the local markets and through KPSI Facebook page and generates a little income for the CTC.
RAS Replanting Nursery Program
To aid farmers in the replanting of senile and dead palms, the RAS runs a coconut nursery management program to encourage farmers to regenerate their land to help secure the future of the coconut industry.
With funding provided by the Foundation, CTC staff were sent to Fiji to train in how to select palms that would provide best yield of nuts. Seedlings grown at CTC are sold, at cost, to farmers.
Formal tests are being conducted at the CTC on the benefits of vegetation grown in bio chair and its impact on soil fertility. Stay tuned for the outcome.
Read More The CRB Saga - Biochar
Craft Workshop & Storage Facility
Funded by the Foundation, the CTC staff constructed the workshop and storage facility on the same land as the CTC.
The CTC produces crafts made from coconut wood, donated by Biosecurity Solomon Islands (BSI) which were salvaged from dead palms infected by the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. This attempt to obtain salvage value from the dead palms started in August 2017 and was funded by the Foundation.
The Foundation, after assessing the requirements, purchased and provided the equipment and tools to undertake this project. This included a log splitter, sanding machine, hand-held grinders, drills, and necessary accessories like sharpening tools.
Logs are milled and crafted into a range of products sold to the expatriate community at markets. They produce domestic utensils like table spoons, forks, spatulas, serving spoons, chop sticks, honey dippers, chopping boards and salad bowls of various shapes and sizes. They also craft bowls from coconut shells. This proved to be successful until the Covid-19 pandemic, when expatriates were forced to return home.
Liberia, West Africa
UOF is a humanitarian organisation dedicated to providing quality educational opportunities and economic development initiatives in some really poor countries notably Honduras and Liberia. In 2017 they established a sustainable community-based virgin coconut oil industry using the DME technology. In 2020 they ordered a further five DME presses. Given the difficulties of transporting the goods from Australia to West Africa by sea, and the excessive delays involved, the Niulife Foundation covered the cost of air-freighting these to Liberia. Read more about their project here