A COCOA Veneer seminar was successfully held recently in Honiara.
It was conducted by Gregory Nolan, Associate Professor from the University of Tasmania’s Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood and coordinated by the Ministry of Forestry & Research, Timol Timbers and Secretariat of Pacific Community (SPC).
Held at the Ministry of Forestry leaf hut, this seminar was attended by people of various disciple, local land owners, other Government Ministries such as Ministry of Agriculture&Livestock(MAL) and representatives from the timber industry.
It formed part of an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research funded project to improve community prosperity by finding uses for senile coconuts.
Noel Roposi from MAL said, about 59,000 hectares of coconut plantation has been established by estates and family owned coconut plantation in the Solomon Islands.
The bulk of senile coconut would be RIPEL plantations, parts of West Kwaio and west Are’Are and North east to West Guadalcanal, noting that some of the old coconuts around North Guadalcanal would still have bullets or shrapnel in them.
In his opening speech, the Forestry Permanent Secretary Barnabas Anga highlighted the key issues of Government policies of working in collaboration with innovative partnership in the wood industry in terms of developing the resources, one of which is the senile coconut wood.
Senile coconuts are old stems from 60 – 80 years old and bearing few nuts.
Mr. Anga said, that timber industry is in transition. Therefore it is important to look at an alternative product as replacement for wood.
Also, finding increased uses for senile coconut stems will encourage land-owners to grow newer and more productive coconut varieties.
Making his presentation, Associate Professor Greg Nolan stated that coconut veneer is one of range of products at the most valuable end of the market while lower value biochar and compost from parts of the stem could be used as a medium for growing agriculture crops or improving soils.
Veneer tests and peeling has been conducted at Fijian Forestry’s Timber Utilization Division’s facility in Nasinu, Fiji.
Senile coconut are old stem with relatively low input. A significant part of the plantations in the Solomon Islands estates are senile.
A profitable use of the old stems is to produce high grade veneer by peeling the cocowood.
Associate Professor Nolan said that processing senile coconut stems into a veneer can make both the timber industry and the agricultural sector more efficient and profitable.