THE Malaysian manufactured copra whole nut processing machine that was recently commissioned by the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is set to open investments for communities in Taveuni.
Speaking at the commissioning of the Mua Research Station Whole Nut Processing Centre, Agriculture Ministry's permanent secretary Ropate Ligairi said the processing centre was wholly-funded by government and cost $370,000.
Mr Ligairi also said that Malaysian experts were brought into the country to teach locals about the operation of the machine.
Taveuni Women's Group co-ordinator Volau Yavalanavanua said the machine would assist locals especially women's groups manufacture virgin coconut oil, soaps, charcoal and handicrafts in order to generate money for them and their families.
"This is an opportunity that not only women on the island could exploit but generally people of all ages or gender," said Mrs Yavalanavanua.
"We thank the government for having the insight to provide people on the island with a machine as such which will greatly help in the improvement of people's socio-economic status.
"Our women's groups in Taveuni are really excited with the introduction of such a machine and we are looking forward to working closely with the agricultural personnel on the island to learn how the machine is operated before we come up with projects," she said.
She said the machine would bring back the lucrativeness of the commodity which had lost its economic worth as people turned to profitable income-generating forms of farming.