26 Jul 2011

Use of coconut oil as substitute for diesel in Samoa criticised

8:03 pm on 26 July 2011

A Samoan environmentalist is highly critical of the use of coconut oil as a substitute for diesel fuel because he says it threatens food security and the environment.

The executive director of Samoan environmental group, O le Siosiomaga Society, Fiu Mata'ese Elisara-Laulu, says coconut is one of Samoa's key affordable food crops.

He says there wouldn't be enough coconuts to sustain both uses.

"The fact is that once it's been promoted as a more economic and profitable avenue for the use of coconuts, people who depend on coconuts for our food and diet are going to find it inaccessible for use in our daily preparation of our food for our villages, not only in Samoa but in the Pacific as well."

Fiu Mata'ese Elisara-Laulu says cutting down native trees in the process also ruins the environment and plants which locals rely on for other uses such as traditional medicine.