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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.