Wilex’s Noni-Loa flies Samoa’s flag
Promoting Samoa on the international stage is the goal of Wilex Samoa with their newly-launched “Samoa Noni-Loa” brand.
Founder of Wilex Samoa, Tagaloa Eddie Wilson told the Samoa Observer yesterday that the brand exists to tell the world that the nonu is from Samoa.
In 1998, Wilex started using nonu in its “boutique chocolate” products and now they’re looking at reviving this by using nonu in their chocolates again. Wilex landed an export market in South Korea six months ago, Benefarm, and they are very interested in Samoa, Tagaloa said.
“The Korean market is very interested in Samoa not only for the impressive quality of the nonu but also with the beauty of our islands,” Tagaloa said during the launch at their factory in Lelata.
“This is why a TV crew from South Korea is visiting to film Samoa as a world class country on pristine environment and source of noni products for the Korean markets.”
While many countries have been interested in nonu, Tagaloa said they are prioritising companies who are focused on promoting Samoa and utilising nonu in an effective way.
“Apart from South Korea, our other interests lie with Canada and America due to developing nonu products to cure cancer diagnosis including colon, breasts and kidneys,” he said.
“That’s why we’ve also alerted the kidney dialysis unit in the hospital of our interests and Leituala Dr. Ben Matalavea is thrilled with the new development.”
Wilex collects nonu fruits from all over the island, beginning from area in Aleipata to Lefaga, Apia to Lauli’i, with a bucket costing $10 - $12 depending on the quality of the fruit.
“I believe that there is a great possibility for this to be a sustainable import because nonu grows effortlessly well in Samoa, growing in almost everyone’s backyard and easy to look after; this is God’s gift to Samoa,” Tagaloa said.
“Also it benefits everyone in the family. Women and children make up 90 percent of people who collect nonu, which means while the men are working the land for root crops; women and kids are earning money from collecting nonu.”
He added about 5,000 families are involved and benefit from Wilex Noni Loa, including those who collect the fruit and work in the factories.
“The biggest challenge is the supply. It’s so hard to convince people not to pick the green unripe nonu fruits,” he said.
“It is especially difficult when there is also another company who is going around collecting both ripe and unripe nonu fruits, which doesn’t look good for us.
“Even the Government has issued a notice through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour to stop the picking of unripe nonu because this may lead to a tainted reputation of the country.”
Tagaloa said about $2 million was invested in the brand including tanks, laboratories and other investments.