RELA VILLAGE, MALAITA, SOLOMON ISLANDS
Until a few years ago, Charles never bothered to pick up the thousands of coconuts scattered across his land in Rela. The reason was simple. There was nowhere he could sell them.
Situations like Charles’ are common in
basic equipment, much of it goes unused.
For years the coconuts on Charles’ land went to waste, and he didn’t work. He had no source of income, and his family subsisted on the small vegetable garden they maintained near their home. Charles’ youngest son, Johnson, was in and out of school as the family struggled to afford the fees for his education.
Two years ago, however, Charles’ fortunes started to change when he began working for Augustine, the owner of two small-scale coconut oil production mills in Rela.
Augustine’s oil mills are from Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands (KPSI), a social enterprise supported by the Solomon Islands Rural Development Program (RDP). KPSI distributes its patented oil mills—called Direct Micro Expelling Units (DMEs)—to farmers like Augustine, and then promises to buy 100% of the oil produced.
The DMEs are small, affordable, and energy efficient, which enables quick and high-quality production of virgin coconut oil that can be done by anyone, anywhere- even in rural villages like Rela.
KPSI provides more than just the mills. With support from RDP, KPSI funds organic certification for coconut farmers, administers workshops on personal finance, and facilitates replanting projects to ensure the long-term sustainability of oil production.
After he received his organic certification through KPSI, Charles began selling Augustine over 1,000 coconuts per week, and he also took a job at the mill converting his coconuts into virgin oil.
From no job and no income, Charles now has a stable income to send his son Johnson to school and plan for the future.
Augustine buys 28,000 coconuts per month from more than 30 farmers like Charles, and he employs 12 men and women at the mill. The influx of jobs in Rela has increased family incomes, enabled more children to attend school, and inspired others to start businesses of their own.