The different coconut-based products the Solomon Islands currently has is derived from the coconut palm, diverging product, and by-product flows which include five subsectors:

(i) Green and mature coconuts are mostly produced by smallholder households, which have multiple uses for local consumption including fresh drinking nuts, mature (dry) nuts, and coconut oil used for cooking, massage oil, and body lotions.

(ii) Mature nuts (and potentially drinking nuts) for export.

(iii) Copra for export and local processing.

(iv) Crude coconut oil (CNO) and its derivatives.

(v) Virgin coconut oil (VCO) and certified organic VCO.

Copra Production

Rural copra traders purchase copra from the growers and sell it to the exporters who are based in Honiara and Noro in the Western Province. There are four main copra exporters (SICE, Coconut BioEnergy, SICPL, CEMA) exporting Bulk copra plus a few smaller operators who export irregularly. Copra millers such as Solomon Tropical Product (STP) and Chottus Guadalcanal Product (CGP) purchase and process copra to produce industrial CNO.

There are four medium-sized mills and about ten smaller mills that produce less than one tonne daily. Mini-mill operators mostly sell their oil to the bigger millers. The Crude Coconut oil (CNO) and the byproduct (copra cake/meal) are mostly exported, but small amounts go to the local market for body lotions and stock feeds.

Two other millers also make soap for the local market, and several produce bio-diesel. Most oil and meal produced in the local mills are used locally for soap making, fuel, livestock feed, and cooking. These are general communal or family-owned operations producing around 200 liters of oil per day.

Oil produced in the larger mills in Honiara is exported or used for soap making and fuel. Oil mills are licensed by CEMA. Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is a small but growing part of this sector. There are around 40 plus communal or family-owned VCO units using the “direct micro expeller” (DME) technology.

They are almost linked to a nucleus operator (Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands) which provides the equipment and technical support and purchases the oil, most of which is certified organically. Most of the organic VCO is exported for use in cosmetics and skin-care products, massage oils, etc., or as a cooking oil. The VCO units buy nuts from villagers, sort the nuts to identify those suitable for VCO, and process the remainder into copra. Each VCO unit employs a team of 5-6 operators. Revenues per nut are much higher from VCO than copra and crude coconut oil manufacture.

Domestic and Internationally Traded Coconut Products in the Solomon Islands


Domestic Market

International Markets

Roots and trunk

  • House posts or stockades from senile palm trees

Coco-wood – potential for high-class furniture and veneer or interior decoration and artifacts

Leaves and fronds

  • · Leaves- handicrafts (baskets, hats, mats, fans, etc.) for sale to locals and visiting tourists
  • Leaf ribs sold as brooms

Leaves - handicrafts exported to importers in the Pacific Region

Fruit – Whole nut

  • · Immature drinking nuts market and street stalls
  • Mature dry- urban and village markets
  • Mature dry- sold to VCO-DME operators
  • Mature dry- exchanged with trade-store
    consumer goods
  • Drinking nuts in NZ and Australia supermarkets
  • De-husked dry nuts to NZ and



  • Dried for copra and sold to copra
    buyers for export
  • Dried copra sold to local copra millers
    for coconut oil and copra cake for
    export or local livestock feed
  • VCO-DME operators used grated and
    dried kernel from mature nuts to
    produce VCO to export and meal as
    livestock feed
  • VCO is sold locally as health food and
    cosmetic lotions and soaps
  •  CNO used locally as biofuel
  • CNO used to manufacture soaps and
  • Kitchen produced coconut oil mixed
    with imported perfume or diffused with

Copra exported to the Philippines & Bangladesh

  • Local millers export CNO and copra cake/meal to EU & New Zealand
  • VCO exported as an organic product
  • Packaged VCO exported as health food and cosmetic lotions.

CNC export destinations mainly in Australia, New Caledonia, New Zealand

VCO is normally exported to Australia, Belgium, and New Zealand.




  • Rotting husks sold as a potting medium
    for nurseries of flower, forestry, and oil
  • Fiber used to make ropes for traditional
    Polynesian and Micronesian houses



  • Charcoal fuelwood for local use in


Source: Young and Pelomo (2014)