Wednesday, 14 November 2007 4:40 PM

Conference for Local Oil Producers

A five-day conference is currently underway for oil producers in the Solomons.

The annual conference for Virgin Coconut Producers Association (VCOPA) is hosted by the Kokonut Pacific Limited Australia.

Participants at the conference are oil producers from Malaita, Guadalcanal, Makira, Western and Choiseul provinces.

Main speakers at the workshop are Ian Gray and Collin Dyer from Australia.

In an interview with the Solomon Times, the Production Controller, Andrew Siru, said that the annual conference is a gathering for participants to get together to discuss issues affecting staff, how to deal and strengthen the partnership between Kokonut Pacific Limited and VCOPA.

Participants are also trained on the direct micro expelling machine (DME) press machine, which is used to produce oil.

In support of VCOPA, the government has initiated the interest in funding DME press machines for Western and Malaita provinces.

Undersecretary of Agriculture and Livestock, Alfred Maesulia, said that it is good to encourage villagers to do down stream processing on products, which helps a lot of people in different islands.

"The government fully supports the production as it is in line with their Bottom Up Approach policy," Mr. Maesulia said.

Asking a representative from Malaita, he said the production is really helpful for the people in the villages.

"It is not a long process like copra because we only sell the nuts so not so much hard labour," he said.

The meeting is made successful through funding by the European Union with the support of Kokonut Pacific Limited Solomon Islands.