Virgin coconut oil

Oxfam provides TNYC with equipment and expertise to help producers turn the abundant coconut crop into a high-end export product.

Oxfam provides coconut driers, oil presses, drying sheets and other equipment to extract oil from dried coconuts. Oxfam also funds and trains TNYC Field Officers to visit farmers and assist them with production, processing, quality control, and marketing. We work closely with TNYC staff to develop business and marketing plans for virgin coconut oil (VCO) producers and help TNYC sell their VCO to a range of customers including Heilala Vanilla, cruise ships and a local ice cream firm.

Impact: Eleni Tuiono

Eleni is working at the VCO processing site in Tatakamotonga, East of Nuku'alofa. Her main job is drying shredded coconut on the wood-fired oven.  Eleni took a break from work to look after her three-year-old grandchild, but now she's back: "I really wanted to come back to work to support my family. My husband has passed away five years ago."

She has two young daughters still in school. Relatives in New Zealand and US send her money occasionally for family events, but she doesn’t rely on them: “I had to look for something to make money for me and my two daughters. It costs so much money in school and church fees. Paying both is very important to Tongans."

TNYC offered Eleni the job because she had skills from a similar enterprise years ago. The VCO work is steady, reliable and pays well enough for her to look after her family: "The money benefits my family and helps pay my bills. If there was no VCO I would have to sell pancakes on the roadside. I used to sell them for P$1 a bag. It was hard. I didn’t earn much money. VCO earns me a lot more. I can now save for my retirement.”

“It is lucky for our village youth that they can now work and earn more money.

“I’d like New Zealand people to support the people who help us work. It has really good benefits for the people of our village, of our community. Thank you for helping us.”

Sweet as: VCO ice cream

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