7 Aug 2012

Cooks growers asked to opt for super plant

6:51 pm on 7 August 2012

A new facility built for the production of skin-care products in the Cook Islands will also provide greater economic opportunity for local growers of the super plant, moringa oleifera.

The Cook Islands Medical Techonologies, or CIMTECH, extraction facility produces Te Tika Bioactive Cook Islands Oils range on Rarotonga.

CIMTECH's director, Dr Graham Matheson, says the facility will be made available to Hugh Graham, who grows the super plants in Mauke and Rarotonga and other growers to extract oil from the plants seeds.

He says while the moringa oleifera is predominantly used for its leaves, the seeds can be used to produce Oil of Ben, which is used for prouducts like hair conditioner.

"The seeds would otherwise be thrown away or planted by the planters. The commercial value of Oil of Ben ranges from 50 odd dollars up to 500 dollars a litre for high quality oil. The farmers have the potential to generate several thousand dollars a year of additional income that they otherwise would have not got but without actually having any increase of cost on them, and turning it into something commercially valuable within the Cook Islands."

The CIMTECH director, Dr Graham Matheson.