The objective of the project was to design and introduce presses for making coconut milk, and then
convert this coconut milk into virgin coconut oil. The locale for the project was car Nicobar Island, in
the Nicobar District of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The project got off to a late start because of two problems. Firstly, there were major design problems
with the press, which took over a year to resolve. Modifications suggested by the fabricators did not
stand the test of field trials. In the process the design was considerably modified and four presses had to
be discarded. Secondly, the Andaman Administration refused to issue a tribal area pass for the Nicobars
for whimsical reasons. This was overcome after several months, and included intervention by DST.
A local Nicobari youth group consisting mainly of young women, the Dosti Group, was identified as
the focus group for the project. One of them was employed as the field coordinator, and machines were
then sent to the Nicobar Islands. Demonstrations were held, and modifications made until they were
happy with the final design.
The use of electrical coconut graters was attempted. This was abandoned since the village women,who
traditionally did the grating, complained that they could not converse during what was a community
The youth group members have begun extracting the oil hygienically. They buy grated coconut at the
rate of N 130 per litre, process it into oil and sell it at N 150 per litre.This works out to around N 10 per
coconut, more than double the existing rate of N 4 per coconut.