Balance celebrates landmark deal in the Pacific IslandsFebruary 2, 2019 • 2 minutes read Stories
What do coconuts and energy supply have in common? Well if you live on one of the 607 remote islands of the Federate States of Micronesia, quite a lot.
The group of islands in the middle of the Pacific are so remote it can take up to 45 hours from Australia for flights and in some cases, boat transfer to the islands. This creates some challenges getting resources, such as fuel and fresh food to the country’s some 105,000 residents.
The Micronesian people have relied for many decades on a financial compact with the United States, put in place following the Second World War. This compact comes to an end in 2023. Locally FSM rely largely on fishing and a small tourism industry to support their economy. Energy across the islands is supplied mostly from costly diesel generation. Many islands and areas remain un-electrified
The Micronesian islands however have an abundant coconut resource, a major untapped resource which is about to be utilised at a national commercial scale for the first time.
Vital’s Coconut For Life Initiative (C4L) aspires to:
- Revitalize the nation’s Coconut Industry resulting in greater economic benefits,
- Improved livelihoods for island communities,
- Boost the Agriculture sector
- Contribute to a 5% increase in the FSM GDP
- Build a community of 25,000 registered farmers within 5 years
- Assist in achieving development goals for island communities
- Generate avenues for clean water & energy and better health through Green Initiatives
- Promote geographical and product diversification with positive economic outcomes
- Develop an exports-oriented business and foreign partnerships
C4Life also has plans to become Zero Waste. Using the entire coconut (including husk and shell) to produce export quality virgin coconut oil, animal feed, energy and fertiliser.
The integrated system of farmer cooperatives, supply chain systems, coconut processing, and integrated energy solutions has the potential to be up-scaled to other remote and regional locations facing similar challenges.
The transition from fossil fuels to renewables allows for sustainable and low cost localised energy production and operation. This not only minimises complex logistics systems but creates economic, social and environmental benefits on site. This is a substantial sustainable solution for developing regions.