The coconut oil project
Friday, December 30, 2005, 20:28THE COCONUT OIL PRODUCTION PLANT.
We believe that lasting aid needs to be supported by trade. Giving these people an opportunity to access world markets, not only short term but in the long term as we train up locals in business and marketing to carry on the project. Focusing on the local assets is important to us, starting with what the people have and know and working from there.
The coconut oil production plant is the driving force of LEAPís projects in the Hinako Islands. It is from this hub that all of the other projects radiate from. The sale of Sumatera Oil provides funding, and the factory grounds are a learning centre for the whole island.
Coconut cultivation is the main form of agriculture on Nias and especially so on the Hinako Islands. When LEAP first began to look for community development projects that would have the most long term benefits for the islands, we decided that some form of coconut produce would have to feature highly. Further research showed us that coconut oil in its virgin cold pressed form was an amazing health food. It is currently experiencing a revival in the health food industry as more and more people discover that it is in fact the healthiest oil on the planet.
On the Island of Hinako where LEAPís pilot project is based, there was an old coconut oil factory. The factory has been closed since 1996 and since then the locals have been selling there nuts to a buyer in Sirombu who then sends it on the Guningsitoli, Sibolga and finally to Medan where it is processed into a second grade coconut oil. Due to the distance and the number of middle men involved, the local farmers receive a low price that fluctuates depending on the weather and transportation availability.
In 2005 LEAP is purchased the land on which the old oil factory was situated and rebuilt a virgin coconut oil factory. This factory provides the local coconut farmers with an alternative market for their coconuts. We are able to pay a higher price for the nuts, up to 3 times the current price as well as provide employment with fair wages.
Production of the oil began in June 2006. The Coconut Oil Production Plant was handed over to local management in 2008 and is 100% locally owned. A percentage of the profits of the wholesale value of the oil goes back into community development projects on the island such as supporting the childrenís club, garden projects and canoe building. The building of the coconut oil factory and set up costs have been sponsored by a private donor Ken Atlee.
Sumatera Oil supplies LUSH cosmetics UK and Canada and is sold in Australia under the brand name SOCOCO distributed by FTL Trading. See www.Sumateraoil.com for more information.
Leap would like to thank Ken Atlee from the Kendale foundation;The Anton Jurgen Fund; Livius Jurgen; Paul Spies; and Paul Marshall for their contributions of finances and energy to the project.