The Solomon Islands is an archipelago of some 1000 Islands spread across 1500 km. The main islands are characterised by rugged mountains with more favourable agricultural land along the coastal areas. The vast majority (around 79%) of the 600,000 Solomon Islands population live in rural areas and are involved in agriculture or fishing on a subsistence or cash-crop basis.
The country’s national GDP is around USD $1.1 billion, of which 38% is generated through agriculture and 26 % is earned through the export of agricultural commodities (including forestry- and fishing-related exports). Recent declines in total export revenue due to the cessation of gold mining and an expected longer-term decline in log exports pose a significant economic challenge for the region.
The export sector is dominated by large commodity-based industries exporting forestry products (round logs USD $200 million, sawn timber AUD $14 million), fish (whole, processed and canned AUD $35 million), palm oil (AUD $30 million), coconut products (copra, mature nuts, coconut oils and meals AUD $18 million), and cocoa (beans AUD $10 million).
While the agricultural economy is large, production of root and horticultural crops is primarily for the domestic markets, with minimal exports. This is largely due to a lack of infrastructure, limited scale of production and processing facilities and high transport and processing costs.
Central to the PHAMA approach is the development of strong public-private partnerships (PPPs) between governments and private sectors to help manage market access. Market Access Working Groups (MAWGs) have been established by PHAMA. Members of these MAWGs include private sector representatives (e.g. exporters, processors and producer groups) and relevant government agencies responsible for elements of market access (e.g. Departments of Quarantine, Trade, Agriculture, Fisheries, Health and Forestry).
To broaden engagement with the private sector, PHAMA has also facilitated the establishment of Industry Working Groups (IWGs) specific to Solomon Islands’ key export industries: fisheries, cocoa, coconut and forestry. MAWGs and IWGs provide the link between producers, industry and government.
READ MORE about the Solomon Island IWGs
PHAMA’s strategy in the Solomon Islands is to improve market access for the country’s key export industries and drive development through the IWGs. PHAMA continues to explore new market access opportunities for other horticultural and agricultural commodities; however, it is recognised these are likely to be limited.
Current focus areas include:
Export of tuna as whole fish, frozen loins and canned meat is an important export industry for Solomon Islands (SI), with export returns of SBD366 million (AUD 60 million) in 2015. The largest destination market is the EU, with other markets including Melanesian Pacific Island countries (PNG, Vanuatu, Fiji) and Japan.Read More
The Industry and its significance Cocoa is an important export earner and source of rural livelihoods with 75% of export returns retained by producers. 20-25,000 small holder farmers and their households are involved in production. More than 50% of producers and processors are women, who are involved in growing and harvesting, but have a...Read More