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Prof Dan Etherington
Academic Field:
Years at RTC:
Town of origin:
Recent Residence:
Canberra, Australia
Life after RTC:
I was born (1936) and raised in Kenya where my parents were farmers. Given the remoteness of the farm I went to boarding school from the age of 6. Following two years National Service as a pilot in Kenya, I studied Economics at Rhodes University in South Africa (where I met my wife, Maureen), and Agricultural Economics at Cornell University. I joined the Economics Department at RCN at the beginning of 1962 and saw the transition into the University of Nairobi. Maureen taught English and Latin at the Aga Khan High School.

I became very interested in the emerging smallholder tea industry and collected farm-level data in Central Province and around Kericho and Kisii. I analysed this data while studying at Stanford University (1967-69) for my PhD. I then taught at University of Nairobi until 1972.
My wife and I, with three young children, then moved to the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra where I taught a graduate program in Agricultural Development Economics. (BTW, we now have 9 grandchildren)

My research interests focussed on perennial crops (rubber in Malaysia & Sri Lanka, tea in China , and coconut), intercropping (including time with ICRAF in Nairobi) and smallholder farming systems.

My studies of the coconut industries in Asia, East Africa & the South Pacific convinced me of the need for a village-based technology to produce coconut oil as an alternative to exporting crude copra. In 1994 I formed Kokonut Pacific Ltd as a social enterprise. I retired from the ANU in 1997 to commercialise the Direct Micro Expelling (DME) technology I had invented.
? DME was awarded a Medal by EXPO2000 in Germany as a sustainable ?World Project?.
? Kokonut Pacific?s work in the Solomon Islands was awarded the Ryutaro Hashimoto Gold Award in 2006 by the Asia Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED) for ?Rehabilitating a rural economy with virgin coconut oil production?.
? In 2008, I was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia for my innovations in small-scale coconut processing and contributions to sustainable agriculture and economic development in the South Pacific.

The DME technology pioneered the commercial production of virgin coconut oil (VCO) at a village-level. This technology has been sold to tropical countries around the world and VCO is a significant component of the current ?Coconut Craze? (TIME 19/12/2012). The common Polynesian word for coconut is ?Niu? (pronounce ?new?). Our brand name, ?Niulife?, speaks of the new-life brought to both smallholders and consumers from an incredible sustainable resource. (Check out and

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