Pacific farmers enjoy nut boom
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CTA. 2006. Pacific farmers enjoy nut boom. Spore 122. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48055
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore122.pdf
Farmers in Vanuatu are cashing in on demand for a nut that can be eaten by sufferers of nut allergy...
Farmers in Vanuatu are cashing in on demand for a nut that can be eaten by sufferers of nut allergy. Allergies to peanuts and tree nuts are among the most common food allergies, affecting about 1% of the population in developed countries. Sales of organically grown Canarium indicum nuts (known locally as nangai), to both overseas and domestic markets are booming. Exports have risen sharply over the past 5 years from a few dozen kilos to a current rate of more than 300 t. Principal destinations include Australia, Japan, Hawaii, New Zealand and the USA, where nangai nuts are eaten raw or roasted, and the oil used as an emollient in hair care, bath and suncare products. More recently, nangai nut oil has been selling in export markets as a topical treatment for arthritis. On the island of Pentecost, coconut-frond baskets of nangai nuts are loaded into the hold of the passenger aircraft that calls in three times a week, to be flown south to the capital Port Vila. Larger quantities are sent down on the inter-island trading ships. Domestic demand has also increased following promotion of the nuts in local hotels and shops so much so that farmers are working flat out to supply it. The boom comes as the value of other agricultural exports copra, coffee and cocoa has crashed. Not only are nangai nuts economically attractive but growing them makes ecological sense too. Canarium indicum is one of the oldest domesticated species in Melanesia and is a fast-growing forest tree. It does well beneath a natural canopy or in a typical food garden clearing, where the sapling can get established while bananas, climbing yams and more are tended all around.