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The Australian National University

The Pacific Economic Bulletin is not longer being published and will be incorporated into a new journal, Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies. To enquire about the new journal please email

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Issue:Pacific Economic Bulletin - Volume 25, Number 3, 2010

Author:Tim Martyn

Title:The economic feasibility of coconut-oil bio-fuels in the Pacific

Abstract:The declining or insufficient returns from copra farming have forced Pacific producers to seek alternative sources of income. Burning coconut oil as a fuel is a relatively low-valued end use for the coconut. The labour intensiveness of copra production presents an intractable cost frontier that renders coconut bio-fuel projects uneconomic in most parts of the Pacific. Consequently, those communities that have managed to access alternative markets are unlikely to be attracted back to copra. While copra farmers in low-wage locations in remote Melanesia and Micronesia could benefit from local consumption of coconut bio-fuels, there is a need to explore alternative policies to reduce the Pacific’s dependence on imported oil, electrify rural areas and increase rural incomes.

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