Changing lives through preserving cultures

by Paul Horowitz

Many South Pacific cultures face overwhelming challenges, from climate change, rapid population growth, logging and mining without good regulation, poor government, and lack of infrastructure. It’s a long and depressing list, but Niulife is helping to preserve local cultures by providing support for local communities to make their own virgin coconut oil, in their own villages. With cashflow from coconuts, local communities and their beautiful cultures can survive and flourish.

These beautiful dancers, with the vibrant colour and South Pacific rhythms are surviving and thriving thanks to the local DME Crushing Mills creating income from virgin coconut oil. Before this, locals relied on the “slave-like” conditions of copra production for income. It is dirty, hard work, and pays very poorly.

With a DME Press, invented by Dr Dan Etherington, founder of Kokonut Pacific, the local people start, run and manage their own business, right in the village. Coconut farmers are paid fair prices for their nuts. The oil producer pays fair wages to his team. And he gets a fair price for his beautiful, premium, hand-made, cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil.

Value-adding in the village means people don’t have to move to cities. This is called urban drift and it causes much dislocation and problems in developing countries. Maintaining local lifestyles means local cultures, like these dancers and musicians, can survive and flourish. With DME they can continue, without handouts, through trade not aid.

Niulife through its charitable foundation, gives 100% of its profits back into projects that support coconut farmers and oil producers. This journey, started in 1994, has now, through local partnerships, helped thousands of people improve their living standards. Basic things like health, education and housing are now better. And indirectly, cultural richness, coastal environments and social structures are also preserved and empowered.

With many cheaper coconut oils flooding the market, the livelihoods pf DME producers are dependent on you choosing this premium quality oil.