This project seeks to increase commercial processing and expand markets for canarium nuts in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. This project is trialling a range of interventions to reach this goal including market research, technical advice, capacity building, business mentoring and access to infrastructure for both private and public sector stakeholders.
There are four objectives:
1. Assess the needs of the private sector to participate in the canarium industry
2. Develop and undertake research-based interventions that address the needs of the private sector including smallholders, small scale entrepreneurs (especially women) SMEs, and large scale processors
3. Develop an appropriate commercial model for a medium scale value adding factory for the canarium industry
4. Create a model for public- private partnerships in the canarium industry in PNG
The major activities and outputs to date are as follows:
Interviews with smallholders and young people, market stallholders, industry representatives, Women and Youth in Agriculture (WYIA) network and government staff have been conducted. Barriers to upscaling the sale and processing of nuts include farmers’ knowledge of supply chains and optimising production. Extension requirements of these groups will be further identified and will explore opportunities to engage their young people.
New market opportunities, particularly those in Port Moresby have been assessed, with a formal launch in Port Moresby planned for 2017. Relationships with a number of key buyers have been developed and a number of new product propositions have been discussed.
Solar drying has been identified as a method that can enable small scale processors to add value and increase participation in the canarium industry.
A solar drying training workshop was developed by the project team and delivered in 2015. It was attended by 22 women and youth from the East New Britain Women and Youth in Agriculture association.
A number of studies have been conducted on nut quality, processing and storage systems. Key findings are: o Kernels of purple fruits contained significantly higher calcium, iron and zinc compared to those of green fruits
Keeping the testa on during storage may slow down the autoxidation and prevent rancidity of the kernels.
Short term storage of nuts in freezer results in lower Free Fatty Acid composition.
An assessment of soil nutrients in cocoa canarium cropping systems compared to cocoa Gliricidia cropping systems has found no differences between canarium and Gliricidia when trees were spaced at 8m X 16m. Some differences were found at an 8 X8 tree spacing. Canarium kernel protein content did not differ in different tree spacings.
One of the several mechanical crackers investigated shows promise. The Jessie roller cracker has the capacity to crack twenty times the current factory capacity with half the required staff. This will be tested further in the coming years
This project to date has increased market opportunities on a pilot scale for canarium growers in the Gazelle peninsula of ENB. More than 11 tonnes of nut in pulp were purchased by the NARI factory compared to 5 tonnes in the previous year, with a price of between 50 toea and 1 kina per kg- this represents additional income for canarium growers. A major milestone for the project is that NARI is participating in buying and selling canarium nut in a formal commercial process in East New Britain province. The staff at NARI have commenced selling dried and packaged nuts into the local retail supermarket and to several wholesalers, and demand is strong. Sales of canarium nut product to commercial retail outlets is a first for PNG. The factory successfully bought and processed 11.52 tonnes nut-in-pulp resulting in 263.6 kg kernel being processed. The volumes sold have to date generated 7000 kina for the pilot processing factory. An additional 243kg Kernel - in - Testa is still to be processed.
NARI staff are developing commercial skills in production, packaging, distribution, sales and marketing by selling canarium products into local markets. Various equipment (e.g. refrigerated container, oven moisture meter and weather station) has been supplied to increase capacity and in some instances dramatically increased operating efficiency of the canarium factory. A refrigerated container for storage will enable large volumes of nuts to be purchased. The fan forced dehydrating oven will more than double the volume of kernels that can be dried at once. TJ’s nutcrackers and fans for the solar dryers have increased availability for ENB WYiA to participate in value adding on a local level.