Thursday, 17 July 2008 3:23 PM

Local Businesses Complain of Foreign Invasion

Business development is a struggle for most locals in Solomon Islands who complain of foreign business people "invading our space".

It was noted that shops are now selling betel nuts along with their rolls which for plenty locals are their only means for income.

"This is the best we can do, selling betel nuts and cigarettes but the Asian businesses are also doing that in most shops," a frustrated betel nut vendor complained.

A local business woman, and mother of six, Rii'i Houwa said that foreign owned business companies in town are now also branching into processing local products.

"Food processing of local products such as tapioca and banana has fast become a popular income earner for local women but we have noticed that foreign businesses are moving into the area," Mrs. Houwa said.

She said that it is hard enough as it is "but to compete with businesses that have resources will be very tough on us".

"We can't stand the fact that they are moving into the area of food processing to make more money, it's just unfair," Mrs. Houwa who sells her products at the market told Solomon Times.

She said the new competition is "making us feel insecure" to be up against people who have all the money.

"For us local women who rely on our skills to make money, it is emotional for us because we feel that what we have is taken from us," Mrs. Houwa said.

She said that they could nothing but watch on in frustration as foreign business people "invade" into the locals' business arena.

"This is our only means of making money for survival and the competition is heartbreaking for us," Mrs. Houwa said.

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