Business on a remote island

Bula Batiki Lta directo Callum Drummond shows the product being displayed in a shop. Picture: SUPPLIED

BULA Batiki is a product name that represents a sustainable community, committed to providing for its people and its future generation.

Bula Batiki represents the possibility that remote islands can be completely sustainable with a thriving communities.

It is a brand that wishes to continue to grow so future generations of Batiki children would be able to develop whilst maintaining their lives within their traditional Fijian culture.

Bula Batiki Ltd director Callum Drummond said the difficulty to produce an income on the islands had been a large contributing factor of rural to urban drift throughout the remote communities, with people moving into the cities in search of work.

“We wanted to create a sustainable island business where people could earn a living whilst living within our traditional Fijian culture,” Mr Drummond said.

“Once I explained the long-term vision for Bula Batiki and explained that I wanted to do it voluntarily so that all profits go back to the producers, many families on the island came onboard and were keen to produce virgin coconut oil (VCO).

“Other families that continued to produce copra wanted to see the benefits of the income from VCO before they become involved.

“Our VCO is different because it is made to the highest standard. This is to ensure as when we produce our VCO in Fiji’s first village level processing facility that we have a food HACCP accreditation (food, health and safety) certificate, and producing to the Organic Pasifika accreditation standard.

“Our personal touch is that each of our jars come with the names of the family that produced it, so we can trace it right back to the individual village and family.”

He said Bula Batiki is unique because it is a fully community owned business where as other VCO companies are owned by a single individual who are most likely from overseas. In terms of marketing, Bula Batiki mainly markets their products through social media.

“We market our product through social media and we have built a good reputation in terms of followers who engage with our posts and updates,’ he said.

“We have a network of professional rugby players around Europe through the Pacific Rugby Players Welfare group and the players have been posting photos with their jars of Bula Batiki oil.”

The PCDF have contributed to the business by providing the business with electric coconut scrapers.

The Ministry of Agriculture have supported us through providing coconut oil presses to Batiki.

The rest of the equipment was purchased from the sales of the oil.”

Initially the team at Bula Batiki faced challenges in sourcing eco-friendly packaging. “We wanted to use non-plastic packaging, but this was impossible to find in Fiji.

To overcome this, we started working with The Earth Care Agency and sourced glass jars from the UK.

“Our other challenge was certification both for being Organic and for our Food Safety. Since working with the team at The Earth Care Agency, we have been able to get our Organic Pasifika certification as well as our HACCP (food health and safety) certification.”

The next step for the team at Bula Batiki is to increase its VCO production and move towards their 300litres per week capacity.

“We hope to start producing coconut flour and to look at other organic products that are able to come from our island paradise,” he said.

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