The humble nut funding Vanuatu school fees

By ISLAND LIFE –

Share on Facebook
Tweet on Twitter

 

When Tropical Cyclone Pam decimated Vanuatu two years ago it almost destroyed Votausi Mackenzie-Reur’s business, but with the help of Australian researchers she’s been able to re-group and employ even more locals so they can send their children to school.

The managing director had spent the previous five years getting her Lapita local foods company off the ground, only for it to almost come undone by a natural disaster.

“I thought that was the end,” she told AAP.

While her sons came to the rescue by finding generators to keep the freezers running, scientists at the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research worked with her to reduce the impact of any future cyclones.

They had already been helping Ms Mackenzie-Reur sophisticate and grow her business, which revolves around the native canarium nut.

ACIAR’s forestry research program manager Tony Bartlett told AAP it had always been eaten raw, but never used to create a commercially viable business.

Mr Bartlett describes Ms Mackenzie-Reur as a “shining” example of someone who is prepared to have a go and add value to a locally grown product.

Ms Mackenzie-Reur used the nuts to create cookies, flour and pastes.

She also worked with the scientists to learn how to dry and process it so it met food safety standards.

The nuts are now available in shops and hotels across Vanuatu, but there are plans to increase certification so the products can be sold on cruise ships and internationally.

Ms Mackenzie-Reur, who employs 15 full time staff and uses nuts from more than 5000 farmers, says it gives families an income so they can send their children to school.

But the nut trade is not the only industry helping to improve the livelihoods of people in the developing nation.

Australian researchers have also been involved in the commercialisation of the sought-after sandalwood tree, harvested for its oil.

Vanuatu Department of Forestry’s Joseph Tungon says the uptake from locals over the past 10 years has been so great seedlings are now in short supply.

Mr Bartlett says the species found on the Pacific islands are of high value, but further work has been done to ensure only the highest quality ones are planted.

“We’re hoping we can create a niche for Vanuatu and Fiji sandalwood,” he said.

* AAP travelled to Vanuatu with the support of the Crawford Fund.

The humble nut funding Vanuatu school fees

Comments

  1. Country Road says:

    It sure took a lot of research to make an article like this.

  2. I think these old wine lovers would enjoy your post.

  3. Happy Lady says:

    Don’t go sniffing that too much!

  4. Don’t eat too much before going to bed.

  5. You sure know how to make a squirrel smile.

  6. Where do you buy all your hardware?

  7. Don’t forget the grilled onions!

  8. Way to go Edward. This blog is amazing!

  9. No one can ever say this site is boring!

  10. Popcorn says:

    Would you like some popcorn?

  11. These two are some real messy eaters!

  12. golden goose says:

    I simply wished to thank you so much once again. I’m not certain the things I would have undertaken in the absence of the entire ways discussed by you regarding such situation. It truly was the depressing situation in my circumstances, nevertheless encountering a skilled technique you handled the issue forced me to cry with contentment. I am just grateful for this work and thus have high hopes you comprehend what a powerful job you’re doing educating the mediocre ones thru your website. Most probably you have never encountered any of us.

  13. A lot of thanks for all your efforts on this site. Debby takes pleasure in engaging in research and it’s really easy to see why. We all know all regarding the compelling mode you convey helpful steps through your blog and in addition improve participation from the others about this concept and my girl has been discovering a lot of things. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. Your doing a pretty cool job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.