Almost two decades ago Grace Fekau, a cocoa farmer from Makira, turned to her small kokoa farm to support her family after losing her husband.
Fast forward to 2023 and that small farm has now grown into Amazing Grace Boutique Cocoa and Garden Tours, a specialised or boutique cocoa bean supplier now set to offer a unique agritourism experience to domestic and international tourists.
Situated on the black sands of Tenaru Beach, just outside of Honiara, tours of Amazing Grace will give visitors the chance to witness the cocoa farming process up close, experience traditional food and chocolate demonstrations, walk through a tropical garden, and purchase value-added cocoa products.
This enhanced Pacific agritourism experience has been developed under Amazing Grace’s partnership with Australia’s Strongim Bisnis program, who engaged Samoa’s Ms Sunshine Organic Farms to mentor Amazing Grace, making it a true testament to the power of regional collaboration.
Ms Fekau, stresses the importance she saw in incorporating culture into Amazing Grace’s agritourism experience with a combination of Makiran and Tikopean cultural entertainment for visitors.
Visitors to Amazing Grace will find an authentic experience not only of kokoa farming in Solomon Islands but the impressive drive and resilience of women like Grace, who is not only a business owner but a mother and grandmother planting the seeds for the future of her family.
“I’m so proud to work growing kokoa. It is a tree that can give you money, give you good health. I want to say to women in Solomons that kokoa can be part of your life and your health also,” Grace says.
This innovative kokoa tour comes at a time when Solomon Islands cocoa sector is being encouraged to move away from solely supplying cocoa beans to the low-priced bulk export market, towards the higher quality boutique markets and to developing more value-added products such as chocolate, cocoa powder and cacao nibs for both domestic and export markets.
With Solomon Islands rich agricultural practices and natural beauty, the launch of this innovative agritourism experience is only the beginning for creative offerings in the Agriculture and Tourism sectors.
Amazing Grace’s first official tour is set to host members of the Solomon Islands Government, representatives of the diplomatic corps, Solomon Islands Tourism Board, and key tourism and private sector stakeholders. Tours are open for bookings from 10 March with a limit of twenty five people per session.
Amazing Grace is located at Tenaru Beach, a popular black-sand coastline North East of Honiara. For chocolate makers, this black sandy soil may contribute to the intensely earthy profile of Grace’s beans, a distinct flavour in all her products.
Source: Strongim Bisnis