Ministry aims to revive coconut industry

Viam Pillay(left) during break between sessions at the Parliament complex. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THE issue of senile palms needs to be effectively dealt with to support Government’s efforts to revive the coconut industry, says Forestry Minster Osea Naiqamu.

While speaking in Parliament this week, Mr Naiqamu said it would be a great opportunity to use a material that could help reduce the pressure on the use of native trees for veneer.

He said the ministry aimed to strengthen its partnership with research institutions like Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to help introduce new technology for the benefit of Fiji’s timber industry.

Mr Naiqamu added that with further commercial development, high quality veneer could be reliably produced in Fiji and dried and handled using standard industry equipment.

“A semi-industrial scale rotary veneer processing equipment was established by the project in Nasinu with key staff trained in its operation,” he said.

Mr Naiqamu said the ministry was also upgrading the sawmill and saw-doctoring facilities in Nasinu to enhance the work of the division.

He highlighted that for non-wood species, the Ministry of Forests was working with other partners on a project funded by the ACIAR to study the suitability of peeling senile coconut logs to produce high quality veneers using the spindleless lathe technology.

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