Solomon Islands: Farmers meet to improve cocoa quality
Owners of solar cocoa driers around the country attended a workshop in Honiara recently to look into ways of increasing “sun-dried” cocoa sales into the lucrative global boutique. The workshop was a series of continued efforts initiated by the Australia and New Zealand funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Programme to improve the quality of Solomon Islands cocoa. A statement from PHAMA said more than 50 participants, including seven women, from Makira, Malaita, Western, Isabel and Guadalcanal provinces attended the workshop. It was facilitated in partnership with the Rural Development Programme (RDP), Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL), Commodities Export Marketing Authority (CEMA) and other industry partners. The workshop demonstrated valuable opportunities for cocoa farmers from the five provincesto share their learning with cocoa specialists and MAL extension officers. A participant from Makira Ulawa Province Lucy Kasimwane said the workshop was a great opportunity to meet with farmers from other provinces and learn from them. “We also understand better how to sell our sun-dried cocoa into higher value markets,” Ms Kasimwane said. PHAMA revealed that cocoa is a significant export earner for the Solomon Islands with an average of 5000 tonnes exported annually, generating around US$12 million for the country.