Rabaul was virtually wiped out by the twin eruptions of volcanos Tavurvur and Vulcan in 1994. The town was moved to Kokopo which is now the provincial capital of New Britain – a safe distance from any further volcanic activity. Slowly the town of Rabaul, which used to be the most beautiful city in Papua New Guinea is being repopulated as people return and start to rebuild. In September of 2013 the Rabaul Virgin Coconut Oil Industry was commenced to benefit the people of Rabaul and give a market to the rural sector.
On our arrival we we sat under shelters and were given a lecture by the manager who explained the Public Private Partnership, the company’s mission – “manufacture and distribute Virgin Coconut Oil, in a safe, reliable, efficient, and environmentally sound manner,” and the company’s vision for the future – ” creating spin off business opportunities for the locals, thus improving their standard of living. We aim to be a recognized performance leader in Virgin Coconut Oil manufacture, in Papua New Guinea.” He talked us through the process before husking a coconut. Such an easy process when you know how. The last one we tried to husk quite recently was a disastrous attempt as we didn’t have a machete and we ended up using the circular saw. Both dangerous and ineffective. Now if our next door neighbour presents us with another we will know what to do. Finally he pointed out the benefits before taking us on a guided tour of the factory.
Although the outer husk had been removed the flesh had to be separated from the inner nut using both grinding wheel and machete.
The flesh was then shredded.
Before pressing began.
Bottled and ready to go. I was impressed. This week they were having a meeting with some Australians – hopefully they will be successful in marketing it to them. This was the only local initiative we saw in our two weeks in New Guinea. In fact it was the only initiative we saw by anyone in a country where the majority are poverty stricken, living a subsistence existence.