A New Zealand businessman wants to revitalise coconut farming in the Pacific which he hopes will lift communities out of poverty.
Chris Nathan plans to build five coconut oil extraction plants around the region to meet expanding market demand.
Radio New Zealand reports that the first plant will be built in Fiji and will cost his company, Cocavo Ltd, $US12 million.
Nathan says that he was annoyed governments distributed aid money to island nations that did not seem to filter down to the farmers.
Nathan says that the only thing that is going to save these countries is to revitalise the coconut industry.
Cocavo has a contract to provide US retail giant Walmart with blends of extra virgin coconut and avocado oil worth $US30 million dollars a year.
Nathan stated that he could sell coconut oil extraction technology to Indonesia, India or Sri Lanka, but he was more interested in helping New Zealand's Pacific Island neighbours.
While construction of the plant was under way in Fiji, talks were being held for others in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.
Each extraction plant could be capable of processing 50 million coconuts annually to produce 4500 tonnes of extra virgin oil, valued at $US5 per kg wholesale.ADVERTISEMENT Listen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.