8 Aug 2012

Cook Islands super plant growers to benefit from new extraction facility

7:26 am on 8 August 2012

A grower of the super plant, moringa oleifera, says a new extraction facility for Cook Island beauty products means growers have the opportunity to make more money from the plant.

Hugh Graham has been planting the moringa oleifrea on a commercial basis on Mauke and Rarotonga for two years.

He says he primarily sells the tree's leaves for herbal tea or to go in meals.

Mr Graham says the director of the company which has built the new extraction plant for Te Tika Bioactive Cook Islands Oils, Dr Graham Matheson, is allowing growers to use the facilities to get more commercial use from the super-plant.

"The Moringa Oleifera seeds, their pods have a oil, it's known as the Oil of Ben, this particular oil is fetching very high prices in the US market today. With Te Tika starting up, we can now give the seeds to his laboratory and no doubt they can process the oil out of these seeds."

Moringa Oleifera grower, Hugh Graham.

Dr Graham Matheson says Oil of Ben ranges from 50 to 500 dollars a litres, giving farmers the potential to generate several thousand dollars of additional income a year.