27 Jul 2011

Samoa women's business group has reservations on coconut fuel

2:14 pm on 27 July 2011

Samoa's Women in Business Development Inc. has reservations on whether using coconuts for biofuel would be the best economic use of the crop.

Environmentalists are calling for care to be taken in the use of coconut oil as a substitute fuel for diesel, citing risks to food security and environmental damage.

Women in Business sources coconut oil for Body Shop products and says it provides a decent livelihood for certified farmers and villages.

Associate director, Karen Mapusua, says the coconut crop should be utilised for high value markets, like theirs.

"Because the price that our growers and oil producers are able to receive for a high value organically certified oil, probably won't mean that we will get a lot of competition from biofuel producers. It's unlikely that our current producers would stop producing in order to serve a market where they don't gain so much financial benefit."

Karen Mapusua says it takes a while to grow coconut plantations so it's not a quick solution to alternative and cheaper fuels.

She says other energy alternatives, such as solar, would be more suitable.