Twenty (20) rural farmers and entrepreneurs in Makira/Ulawa Province are now equipped with the relevant knowledge to produce good and quality Copra and Cocoa to meet requirement needed in exporting their products.

This was following a Cocoa and Copra Processing Quality Assurance and Marketing training conducted in the provincial capital Kirakira from 10th – 13 May 2021.

The training was funded by the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA), coordinated by the Export Industry Development Department of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) and facilitated by Commodities Export Marketing Authority (CEMA).

It targeted those involved in the export supply chain of Cocoa and Copra to ensure consistent supply of quantity and quality production is achieved.

The training also covered the preparatory tasks farmers should be aware of in preparation for the implementation of the Registration of Cocoa Processing Facilities which includes drying facilities, fermenting boxes and storage sheds as stated in the CEMA Act 2013.

This is also in line with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock’s 10-year Strategic Plan detailing all processing facilities to be registered so that good quality copra and cocoa can be effectively monitored, tracked and traced back to its original processing facilities while ensuring the quality of copra and cocoa production supply in the Solomon Islands.

SICCI’S Export Industry Development Officer (EIDO), Mr. Ronnie Golopitu said the Cocoa and Copra Processing Quality Assurance and Marketing training was the first of its kind to be jointly conducted with the aim of providing basic information on the practices of producing and processing good quality and marketing of cocoa beans and copra to those in the supply end.

“Noting that, it is of paramount importance that only top-quality copra and cocoa will determine the quality of these products and ensure good overseas market preferences,” he said.

Mr. Golopitu said cocoa and copra are the longest standing commercial smallholder income generating activity in our provinces which of importance to the national economy and to rural households.

He further acknowledges the fact that Makira/Ulawa Province has been recently identified as a cocoa hub with an increased provincial production of around 2.3% in 2020 and an increase by 6% in copra production in the same year.

Overall, the training was described as a success as evident from feedbacks received from participants as they have now identified their weaknesses in the cocoa and copra value chain.

Participants are looking forward to utilise the skills and knowledge gained from the five-day training in producing good quality copra and cocoa to meet export standards and requirements as a way forward.

The partnership between PHAMA, CEMA and SICCI continues to be key in reaching out to businesses of the export sector that are based in the provinces.

Source: SICCI Media