$150K INJECTION - Solomon Star News


16 February 2021
Chairperson of the ESP Committee Dentana McKinnie, right, hands over the letter of offer to the Managing Director of Kokonut Pacific, Bob Pollard, 3rd from left, following the signing of agreement on Monday. [Photo supplied]

Gov’t injects additional $150k into coconut industry

THE Government has further pumped $150, 000 for the coconut industry under the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) initiative.

The agreement was signed between the Government with Kokonut Pacific, Monday.

Speaking following the signing ceremony, Managing Director of Kokonut Pacific, Bob Pollard expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the Government for the support towards his company, a statement issued by the Prime Minister Press Secretariat said.

According to the Managing Director of Kokonut Pacific, the SBD150 000 will enable the company to keep the buying price at SBD24.00.

Mr. Pollard stated that the subsidy will effectively be $2 per kg and so will enable the company to purchase 75 tonnes of VCO at $24, which will be $1.8m into the rural communities.

He further stated this will encourage the DME producers to keep the price at 50c per nut.

“This means of the $1.8m about SBD670 000 will be paid to coconut farmers,” he said.

Last year, the Government injected$300, 000 under the Stimulus Package, into Kokonut Pacific.

According to Mr. Pollard, the company had utilised the support to allow the company to raise their price of virgin coconut oil at six dollars on top of the 18 dollars per kilogram and has assisted the company with the production of 60 tonnes of virgin coconut oil for which the company paid $1.44m to rural producers. 

“If it was not for the stimulus package we would have only paid $1.14m. The 60 tonnes has generated about $1.56m in export revenues,” Mr. Pollard stated.

At current export prices, this will generate $2.1m in export revenue.

Pollard also stated that without the subsidy the company will have to drop its prices of which will slow production and reduce nut purchases from farmers.

Chairperson of the ESP Committee, McKinnie Dentana acknowledged that recipients of the ESP initiative such as Kokonut Pacific are the ideal recipients of the support because of their model of functioning as a company that deals directly with rural farmers as well as the international market.

Mr. Dentana confirmed that because of the positive outcome and the multiplier effects within the rural and the national economy of the initial support, the Committee sees it fit to provide additional support to KPSI so that virgin coconut oil trading continues to progress with our farmers. 

This is the whole policy objective of ESP during these difficult times, according to Mr. Dentana. 

“We want to see our people have cash on their hands so that they can spend or save to able to meet their basic needs, while at the same time export trading is sustained,” he said.

Meanwhile, lists of recipients of cocoa and copra farmers have been finalized and will be uploaded into the public platform this week and onward.  

The Government through the ESP Committee is fully committed to the accountable implementation of the ESP in the interest of the wellbeing of the people, national stability, and economic empowerment.