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Read the Volcanic Earth Case Study

About the company

Volcanic Earth is a retailer and exporter of natural organic skin care products and traditional Melanesian skin treatments. Their products are made from locally-produced Tamanu Oil, Virgin Coconut Oil, Volcanic Ash and Volcanic Pumiare. The company sources inputs from various areas of Vanuatu and operates a small processing and storage facility in the capital, Port Vila.

The company is headed up by two dynamic women who are both strong advocates of all natural, organically grown products. They are great supporters of the belief that we are all connected to the earth’s energy. Their motto is, “the stronger the connection, the stronger and healthier we become”


Total grant funding approved: ECF A$190,000

About the project

Volcanic Earth faced supply and packaging constraints to fulfilling their objective of supplying bulk product orders to “niche” wholesale and retail outlets in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The company sought ECF assistance to establish a new production and export handling facility in Port Vila and to provide sufficient working capital to increase purchases from local suppliers.

The project therefore involves the expansion of its processing plant to produce bulk supplies of skin care products for export markets in the wholesale and retail sectors and virgin coconut oil, as well as a program of working more closely with village suppliers to increase supply and to provide technical support for first stage processing by these suppliers.

Results December 2012

  • Production capacity has increased by 400% and Volcanic Earth doubled gross income between 2008 and 2010.
  • In 2010 Volcanic Earth established a network of overseas agents/distributors and exported 8,000 litres of bulk tamanu oil to various international customers.
  • In 2011 Volcanic Earth moved to a new premise in Port Vila to expand production and services.
  • In 2010 payments to tamanu nut suppliers and graders, primarily women, through another local company were over $A30,000.
  • Sales of tamanu oil increased in 2012 but have not yet reached the levels of 2010. Other export sales are growing and initial marketing in Japan indicates number of opportunities for the company’s products.
  • Suppliers in rural locations selling around $A10,000 worth of coconuts to Volcanic Earth per year. Most of these suppliers have limited alternative income sources.
  • Six new employees in the company and coconut oil operation.
  • The manager of the coconut mill has developed a successful small business and is diversifying into additional commercial activities.
  • Exports of packaged skin care products are progressing and purchases of other local inputs are likely to grow.
  • This project has been successful in terms of supporting the growth and export development of a small local company and provides useful lessons for other small scale exporters in the Pacific.



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Read the CDOH Case Study

About the company

The Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper Craft Company was started by Lolita B. Cabanlet 14 years ago when she started making paper with a blender in her kitchen. Today, the company is exporting its products to markets around the world. They have a vision that combines the entrepreneurial endeavours of the Cabanlets with the desire to assist the unemployed and underprivileged members of the community.

Total grant funding approved: ECF A$407,139

About the project

The project will develop the abaca industry in more accessible areas to Cagayan de Oro City. It will engage over 900 families that have grown abaca but cannot sell their products due to poor transportation links between their villages and Cagayan de Oro City.

The project has three main components. These are:

  1. to increase incomes of the Indigenous Peoples (the Higaunon Tribe) of Claveria, Misamis, Oriental and Malitbog, Bukidnon by sourcing abaca fibres from their lands and fostering export of abaca fibre and abaca based products.
  2. to expand handmade paper manufacturing and craft making facilities of Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper Crafts
  3. to contribute to the capacity building, training and poverty alleviation of the local communities.

Results December 2012

  • The Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper crafts project increased paper production capacity by over 250% as a result of the ECF grant and increased export sales, the business is profitable;
  • Cagayan de Oro employs 22 paper makers, 15 craftsmen (mostly men) working on the more technical designs such as boxes, albums in the factory.
  • Cagayan de Oro have trained 88 home based workers and is currently working with 46 on an ongoing basis (see below). The average income received is up to P95,000 (A$2,083).
  • 300 abaca growing households in Misamis Orientals are selling abaca to the local buying station constructed by Cagayan de Oro using ECF funds. Previously the closest place to sell abaca was a local market place 30 minutes away by motorbike. The buying station uses a simple grading sheet to identify the different grades and pays P30–45 (A$0.7 to A$1) depending on the quality.
  • A household earns on average P14,400 (A$335) from the sale of abaca every three years.
  • A number of farmers had sold 10–12 kilos of abaca at a time to cover daily needs; some sold 180–300 kilograms or enough to pay school fees or purchase inputs. The locally available buying station means farmers can sell small or large quantities of abaca as needed and have more control over their cash flow.
  • Many of the 300 households have increased their planting activities as a result of the setting up of the buying station.
  • The management teams of Cagayan de Oro are social entrepreneurs and this has contributed to the success of this beneficial supply chain partnership between the company and communities.

Cagayan De Oro: Training a local home-based workforce

Cagayan do Oro Handmade Papercrafts is located in Cagayan de Oro in northern Mindanao, Philippines and was awarded an ECF grant of A$407,139 to develop an abaca supply chain and expansion of a handmade paper making factory that uses abaca.

Cagayan de Oro contracts home-based workers to assemble and construct the cards and paper products The company has trained 88 local women and is currently working with 46 on an ongoing basis.

In many households, the home-based workers have also trained their family members (sisters, children, husbands) to support. They can be helped by 3–5 family members.

The average income for some suppliers is up to P95,000 (A$2,083) per year in 2010 and this is expected to increase in 2011.

“In 2007, we received an order for 1 million cards and therefore had to mobilise the whole community to help!” Luchi Cabanalet Cagayan de Oro founder Additionally Cagayan de Oro has also provided the 73 home-based workers with school supplies and scholarships for their children. This program was developed as many of the women indicated the main reason they were working was to fund school fees for children.


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Read the Sarami Case Study

About the company

Sarami Plantation has been breeding cattle in Vanuatu for 30 years and was the first property in Santo to introduce cross Brahman bulls on their 2000 hectare breeding property. Sarami has continued to upgrade its breeding herd and has bought and developed a 2000 hectare fattening property.

Total grant funding approved: ECF A$1,375,000

About the project

With the support of ECF funding, Sarami will work with smallholder cattle farmers to improve beef production in Vanuatu. Smallholder farmers on Santo and nearby islands are generally unable to achieve top prices for their cattle due to their unimproved pasture, poor breeding practices, overstocking and limited watering systems. To address these issues, Sarami will purchase cattle directly from the farmers at a 50 per cent higher average price than currently paid by the abattoir. Stock will be fattened on Sarami’s improved pastures with silage which will then be sold at a higher price.

Results December 2012

Since commencement of the ECF project Sarami has purchased over 2,000 cattle from more than 240 smallholders. This represents an increase in small holder incomes of Vatu 42.5 million ($A0.45 million). Other results include:

  • Silage production has been successfully trialed and implemented.
  • Different pastures have been trialed and the most suitable varieties confirmed.
  • All associated site improvements have been completed.
  • An additional 20 workers have been employed by Sarami. Workers have received technical and on the job training in silage production and pasture improvements.
  • Small holders receive 50% higher prices for their cattle than prices from other buyers.
  • Transport of purchased cattle by Sarami reduces costs for smallholders and further increases their net returns.
  • Two shipments of cattle have been negotiated with the Solomon Islands Government as the first stage in rebuilding that country’s cattle industry.
  • The genetic breeding program will commence in early 2013.

Once the silage and pasture improvement procedures have been fully evaluated, the project will offer important lessons for other parties around the Pacific. Interest has already been shown by government bodies and the private sector in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.



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Read the Reddy Farms Case Study

About the company

Reddy Farms is a 100% locally owned Fijian company, breeding and supplying ducks for sale to restaurants, supermarkets and hotels. On a trial basis, Reddy Farms imported Pekin ducks from New Zealand to test the market demand. The results were promising but the high airfreight costs involved in importing ducklings meant that it was difficult to compete against imported processed duck meat. Reddy Farms sourced a Pekin duck hatching machine from Australia in 2008 but did not have the funds required to expand to the level required to satisfy local demand. See the Reddy Farms brochure.

Total grant funding approved: ECF A$149,900

About the project

With the support of ECF funding, Reddy Farms will increase hatching of Pekin day old ducklings to optimise its hatching efficiency. Reddy Farms will supply ducklings to farmers along with feed and technical support. Once the birds reach the optimum weight they will be purchased from the farmers at an agreed net price per kilo. ECF funding will also support Reddy Farms to build a new slaughter house with a cold storage facility and a refrigerated truck for transport to buyers.

Progress December 2012

  • Reddy Farms completed the duck hatchery and processing operation and secured all the required health, safety and environmental approvals by late 2010.
  • Male and female contractors were recruited to raise week old ducklings. Reddy Farms provides feed and technical support and there are no operational expenses for the contractors.
  • Six new full time and four part time workers were recruited, four of whom are women.
  • The original intention was to appoint a large number of contractors, mainly women, but poor performance by a number of contractors has resulted in a smaller number of contractors handling increased quantities of ducks.
  • Sales to local customers have also not been as substantial as expected. Price resistance from consumers and lower than expected sales to hotels and restaurants have presented challenges to the business. As a result Reddy Farms has therefore diversified into the supply of fresh ducks at the farm gate and the processing of larger chickens to fill a gap in the market.
  • The business is commercially viable but the benefits are less than expected -
  • The 10-15 contractors expected to continue to provide the ‘grow-out’ service. These contractors are likely to increasingly handle larger batches and earn more money but most are relatively entrepreneurial and are not necessarily disadvantaged.
  • The additional 6 new full time and 4 part time workers who have learnt a range of new and valuable skills.
  • The project has been a useful case study for similar livelihood development strategies being considered for the cane belt regions of Fiji by both the government and donors. Lessons from the project are also expected to be useful for similar projects in other countries.


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Read the Puritau Case Study

About the company

Puritau Ltd is a family run company that has been passionately involved in the agriculture sector in Papua New Guinea (PNG) since 1987 and exporting vanilla beans for 10 years. The business operates from Brisbane Australia, with farms in PNG distributing its natural vanilla products under the brand name La Laura. Puritau currently employs 11 people.

The business sells PNG grown spices to major supermarkets in Port Moresby and exports small quantities of Vanilla Beans and Pure Vanilla Extract to Australia, US, Taiwan, Japan and some European countries.

Puritau now sells its Vanilla Beans and Vanilla Extracts online from Brisbane (Australia) and the strong demand for its vanilla has required Puritau to contract various farmers around PNG to help supplement output from its farm. Over the years Puritau has been travelling around the country working with various government agri agencies and interest groups in developing their vanilla and spice farms, providing free technical support. The company is responsible in marketing PNG grown spices, developing farms and providing income directly to village farmers.

Total grant funding approved: ECF A$170,000

About the project

ECF support will enable Puritau to establish a Solvent Extraction facility at Puritau’s site in Port Moresby to produce pure vanilla extract, vanilla oleoresin and other spices. This facility, the first of its kind in PNG, will provide a larger and more reliable market for farmers in remote areas of the country. This project is geared towards opening market accessibility for remote farmers who for many years have found selling their produce an impossible task.

The project will also support the attainment of international quality standard certification. This will lead to greater export opportunities and at the same time compete in the essential oil market globally.

Result December 2012

  • The vanilla factory has been established and trial runs of vanilla production have been completed.
  • Paradise Spices has created 9 full-time jobs and employed a number of part time extension workers. It is supporting vanilla growers to improve yields.
  • 300 vanilla growers in Morobe province are supplying vanilla beans to Paradise Spices.
  • Growers have sold approximately 2.1 tonnes of vanilla beans worth K33,000 (A$15,200) to develop vanilla extracts and oleoresins. Vanilla growers on average make K660 (A$300) from selling vanilla to Paradise
  • Farmers indicate that vanilla provides good business but as the price has fallen (from the high in 2003 when there was a global vanilla shortfall) so has their interest. However, in very hot weather they like to work in the vanilla plantation as it allows them to work in the shade.
  • Paradise Spices has diversified their operations and established a successful purified water business which will expand sales significantly and support the commercial viability. To date, sales are around K100,000 (A$46,000) per year which is a significant contribution to business growth but has limited benefits to the poor.
  • The establishment of this factory, and the commercial and organised approach to vanilla growing and supply, is helping restore confidence in the vanilla industry.