Cocoa exports are of increasing importance to Solomon Islands and significant efforts are being made by the industry with donor assistance to increase production, improve export returns and quality. Current legislated quality standards and testing capacity are recognised by industry as being inadequate when compared to the quality requirements of targeted export markets. The industry wishes to develop a new quality standard based on target market requirements and to establish access to adequate quality testing capacity to support market access, protect exporters against reduced payments over quality issues and to support quality improvements.
Examination of the current situation showed two key issues: (1) The current reliance of Solomon Islands on importers to conduct quality testing (2) The need for interim access to independent overseas testing laboratories to provide quality testing while local quality standards and testing capacity are being developed. It was identified that quarantine access for trade samples of cocoa beans to Australia for testing was a particular issue.
Key words: cocoa, copra, meal, pale kernel, standards, testing, laboratory, quarantine, inspection, aflatoxin, market requirements, hygiene, fumigation