The island nation’s largest coconut oil producer – the Island Development Company (IDC) – is back in business after acquiring a new oil mill which is producing up to 600 litres of oil per day with the majority being exported.  
After a few months of no oil production, in July last year, IDC acquired new machines and restarted oil production on Coetivy Island. IDC’s island operations manager – Michel Coopoosamy – explained that producing coconut oil is one economic activity that the company has been doing for many years. 
“Since then we are able to produce coconut oil daily. On average some 4,000 to 5,000 coconuts are collected daily and we already have a current stock of 52,000 coconuts on Coetivy. Some 600 litres of coconut oil are being produced daily on a shift of eight hours,” explained Coopoosamy. 
Coetivy is one of the 115 islands of the Seychelles archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. Coopoosamy explained that on average 10,000 coconuts are used per day. These are dehusked and then turned into copra, then pressed into the end product 
“This is a venture that IDC wants to pursue as the number of coconuts we are collecting is more than enough for the local market. We are already in touch with some potential buyers for export. Right now, we are selling the oil at R50 ($3) a litre,” added the manager.  

 IDC is to produce coconut oil to support the local industry and to develop and produce virgin coconut oil in partnership with potential private investors primarily for export.  (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY

Apart from exporting IDC also sells the coconut oil to local buyers, who have several uses for it including making cosmetic and craft products. As per its outer island development plan, IDC is to produce coconut oil to support the local industry and to develop and produce virgin coconut oil in partnership with potential private investors primarily for export. For the last eight years, IDC has been exporting raw coconut oil to Mombasa, where it is used mainly for cooking and lighting. 
People who SNA spoke to have welcomed the news as for now with COVID-19 they say it is best to produce locally and whatever can be exported will bring much needed foreign earnings for the islands. 
“Coconut oil when done cold pressed is very good and having it locally made is so much the better, I do hope they keep on with the production so that there is a constant supply,” Daniella Marie said. 
Allain Rose said that IDC should produce more coconut oil to fully meet the local demand for the product. “For now, we see imported coconut oil in shops, but if we can produce the maximum – this can be done with the 115 islands we have – then we can save some forex. But I also hope IDC keeps its price reasonable.”   

IDC is to produce coconut oil to support the local industry and to develop and produce virgin coconut oil in partnership with potential private investors primarily for export. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY

Marie added that IDC should go further and start a campaign to sensitise the public on the long list of virtues that coconut oil processes. “Long ago, coconut oil was used for so many things, for cooking, for our hair, to treat aliments, for our skin. I do not see why we cannot educate people about same, and give the coconut it’s true importance and value,” she said.

Source: Seychelles News Agency