Growth in Cook Islands miracle oil industry, held back
Cooks womens leader says lack of hands and quality holding back miracle oil industry.
The head of a women's group in Mauke in the Cook Islands says a lack in quality and workers is holding back growth in the miracle oil trade.
Miracle oil is being produced by women in Mauke, using boiled coconuts and a herb called 'pi' and is highly sought after in Rarotonga and New Zealand.
The Secretary the Women's Council on Mauke, a non-government organisation, Puta'i Kairae, told Beverley Tse the women on the island cannot keep up with demand.
PUTA'I KAIRAE: You just go out and collect the coconuts and husk it, then you grate it and squeeze it. After that you boil it, put it on a fire and boil it. It takes time. It takes time. You can't finish that product... Probably you can finish if you just grate 10 coconuts, but for the market, to get some money out of it, you can finish in two days. Maybe you can finish if you use the night.
BEVERLEY TSE: So currently how much of this miracle oil are you producing?
PK: Most of the women on the island produce the miracle oil. It's lack of finances [with] the ladies who don't work for the government, that do domestic things.
BT: So how many women are producing it?
PK: Almost every household, except for elderlies and young people, young couples.
BT: Where are you selling it? Where are you marketing your product?
PK: Some, they send it across to Rarotonga to sell in a market. They sell it there for $20 for 600 ml.
BT: Is that a good price?
PK: To me, yes.
BT: And I understand there's actually quite a lot of demand for the miracle oil?
PK: Yes, there is. But it's good to do the product, to take orders. But it's no good if we take more and more orders, but we don't have the quality oil. Nowaday some women... I'm not ashamed to tell that that's one of our weaknesses. Sometimes we are just hungry for that dollar so we just do things or do our oil just like that, just to finish more. Instead of having that quality oil we just go for the quantity.
BT: Are you trying to encourage the women to improve their product?
PK: Yes, just like the weaving of the baskets. Yes.
Puta'i Kairae says producing the oil is labour-intensive, but funding from New Zealand has meant some of the women have purchased electronic graters to shred the coconuts.
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