5 May 2009

Potential of new Pacific coconut product explored

9:21 pm on 5 May 2009

Progress has been made on exploring the potential export of a new coconut product from some Pacific countries to New Zealand.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation office in Apia has been working on the project in conjunction with New Zealand's biosecurity and the Secretariat of the Pacific community.

FAO crop protection officer Matarangi Purea says talks with New Zealand biosecurity officials have been positive, but working out how best to export it still needs fine tuning...

"The commodity is a coconut, but its the coconut that's just sprouting. In Cook Islands we call it uto, In Samoa its called o'o. The inside looks like a pearl. So we term it a coconut pearl. Its a product that New Zealand Polynesian wants."

He says a common name for the product also needs working out as its also known as a "coconut embryo" or "coconut apple".

Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Samoa have registered an interest.