A new crashing mill for West Guadalcanal was launched over the weekend at Mangakiki village.
More than 200 people turned to witness the occasion.
Officiating in the launching was the minister for agriculture and livestock (MAL) David Tome, provincial and national leaders of West Guadalcanal constituency, chiefs and the main supporter of the project – the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), European Union and Solomon Tropical Product.
The crushing mill project was funded by the SPC under the increased agriculture commodity trade (IACT) program funded by European Union to the MAKKS association community development, Mangakiki villages.
The MAKKS association was formed by communities of Mangakiki, Komabulu, Kochachai and Sarivaba communities in West Guadalcanal.
Chairman of the association Peter Waitasi said the establishment of the crushing mill last year was not from an individual interest but a need by people in the surrounding communities to sustain the coconut products through domestic oil processing.
He said following the ethnic unrest and the need to engage in economic development the community have has forced the people to work together and engaged in the coconut industry.
It was last year they have formed an association with the help of Solomon Tropical product to propose for a crushing mill project for coconut famers in the area.
He said establishment of such project was very really challenging for community level, contributions, planning, follow –up appointments and other mean of requirements.
He assured communities and the funders that now most of the farmers will work hard and contribute to the coconut industry.
“The crushing mill will help everyone in the communities by selling their dry coconut product to the crushing mill.”
He acknowledged all supporters of the project to make it became successful.
Operation manager of the Solomon Tropical Product Bevan Vollrath said the crushing mill can produce many things like oil, soap, bio-fuel and animal feeds etc.
“It will help people in the rural area not to spend much money to freight their bags to Honiara or elsewhere.
“The crushing mill here to help you sell your copra back in the villages or home,” Vollrath said.
He said the process involved everybody from age three up to the very old.
Meanwhile he urged every farmers that the new coconut crushing mill will demand high quantity of coconut to cater for the normal operation of the milling process.
“This machine will demand us farmers to produce more dry copra, which is a good sign because the more you produce and the more money you,” he said.
He explained the sale of the oil and other product helps country to reduce import of oil, soap and other product that made from coconut in Solomon Islands.
The crushing mill can produce 2-4 thousand liters per week.
The project is being coordinated by the association with the support of Solomon Tropical Product.
By SOLOMON LOFANA