Erro sandalwood

For the first time ever sandalwood oil has been produced on the sandalwood rich island of Erromango.

Since early 1800s people have been buying, trading and stealing sandalwood from Erromango to take to other countries for processing to essential oil for perfumes and other products.

Jeff Allen from Pacific Provender Limited and Jif Willie Netai from the Erromango Sandalwood and Essential Oil Association has been planning this venture for the last 14 years.

Jeff Allen from PPL says his family came from Beechworth in Victoria Australia to Dillons Bay (now called William’s Bay) on request from Jif Netai 14 years ago.

“I saw first hand, people that should be able to value add to their natural resources whilst creating jobs but they weren’t. We decided then that we have the expertise to do this. Our main aim is to have a sustainable industry whilst helping farmers.

This is a social enterprise where percentage of profit goes back to community development projects for the whole of Erromango.

We will be working closely with the vocational training centres so we can train more people in this industry. We even have an Australian movie star Mr. Jack Thompson for an ambassador for this project.

Mr Allen has been researching and distilling essential oils for the last 27 years he also designs and manufactures machinery for processing essential oils and cold press’s for Tamanu.

The machinery that Allen has built and set up runs from wood for making steam so this directly creates another 2 or 3 jobs just to keep the firewood coming. Also no pumps are used as it is gravity fed water but a pump is on stand-by. Also a 20HP steam engine is hooked up to the boiler so as to be producing power whilst processing sandalwood oil. The main waste stream is hot clean water.

“Our aim is to have this type of machine and set up in every island in Vanuatu that grows sandalwood. Other oils can be made also such as vetiver and ginger.

“We now have 2 shop outlets here in Vanuatu, one is at the new craft market on wharf road and the other is a co-branding exercise on Mystery Island.

“Our vision is to value add to everything that we process such as sandalwood oil is bottled and labeled by women in Port Narvin.

“The labeling acknowledges the island of Erromango and also the custom of sandalwood with the people.

“There will be many other small-scale products coming on line over the next year for the 2 shops in Vanuatu and also the 9 shop outlets in Australia.

“We believe we want everyone to experience the beauty of the sandalwood from Vanuatu so we are making available to any one with shops, resorts, bungalows to contact us.

“The sandalwood oil is available with our label on it and also as a clean skin bottle. So resorts or bungalows can design their own label with the assistance from us. They can either have us attach the labels or they can have their own staff do this. This is an easy way for people to promote this product and using their own name or establishment. The other products that come on line next year will be available in this concept as well.”

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