PHAMA features as guest speaker at business forum

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Tuesday, August 15 2017

The Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program was among guest speakers invited to address the 9th Australia-Solomon Islands Business Forum held in Honiara, Solomon Islands from July 24 – 26, 2017.

Attended by Australian and Solomon Islands business houses and industry stakeholders, the forum covered a variety of topics focused on the Solomon Islands business environment and development of the tourism, infrastructure and agriculture sectors.

Samantha Maeke, PHAMA’s National Coordinator in the Solomon Islands, delivers her presentation during the 9th Australian-Solomon Islands Business Forum in Honiara.

The theme for this year’s Business Forum was Creating Growth in Partnership which reflects PHAMA’s approach of facilitating public private partnerships to improve market access for agricultural sectors.

Samantha Maeke, PHAMA’s National Coordinator in the Solomon Islands represented the program at the forum. She spoke on ‘Market Access for Solomon Islands Cocoa’ as part of a wider session on ‘Growing Solomon Islands Agriculture Sector’.

Maeke highlighted the impacts of PHAMA’s work to develop the country’s cocoa export industry, which have included the establishment of a boutique market for Solomon Islands cocoa and improved profitability for local exporters selling into bulk cocoa markets.

Contamination of beans with smoke from wood-fired driers is a common quality issue for cocoa in Solomon Islands, which limits the ability of exporters to improve terms with buyers or access new markets based on quality.

These quality issues were compounded by the cocoa industry selling to a very limited number of cocoa trading houses who pre-finance purchases of cocoa beans, locking exporters into discounted prices compared with world markets.

In response to these challenges, PHAMA worked with cocoa industry stakeholders to develop a boutique cocoa market based on improved quality and to increase value in the bulk market by assisting exporters to access alternative buyers and sales arrangements.

Among the notable efforts of the program have been training of farmers and exporters to produce better quality beans without smoke taint, through the establishment of solar driers and the distribution of quality kits to farmers to equip them with quality testing tools. PHAMA also linked farmers, processors and exporters to international boutique chocolate makers through trade visits and the Chocolate Week Festival and has provided business support to new exporters that are selling into these boutique markets.

This support has helped secure better contracts for local cocoa stakeholders selling into bulk markets and established a premium market with better prices for high quality cocoa.

Aside from cocoa, PHAMA has also helped to develop other commodities in the Solomon Islands including sawn timber, fisheries and handicrafts.

For further information, contact Andrew Piper at a.piper@phama.biz or on +677 22365

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