The Australian Government initiative, Strongim Bisnis, through a partnership with C-Corp Limited has been trialling a new drying technology in Solomon Islands.

This project also aimed to improve the access to market for cocoa wet bean sellers. This support included efforts to improve the quality and quantity of cocoa produced by farmers, and increase farmers’ supply to the export market.

C-Corp is a Solomon Islands cocoa export company that aggregates cocoa for sale to overseas markets and sells cocoa beans to its subsidiary, Solomons Gold. Solomons Gold is a company that makes award-winning, boutique 'bean-to-bar' chocolate using 100% Solomon Islands cocoa. Solomons Gold chocolate is sold internationally in countries such as New Zealand and Australia.

Australian High Commission, First Secretary Economics, Cailin Lucas, said “The Australian Government is partnering with the Solomon Islands Government to support farmers to increase resilience against the current economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through Strongim Bisnis, we are proud to be working with cocoa farmers to improve the supply of Solomon Islands cocoa, and premium cocoa, and to get their produce to export markets.”

With Strongim Bisnis’ support, C-Corp will continue to process cocoa in its newly-built cocoa drier in Vura, West Guadalcanal. Strongim Bisnis supported the construction of this drier. C-Corp’s service seeks to improve the quality of the dried beans with more precise drying methods. Increased quantities and quality of cocoa beans helps farmers to seek a better price to export their beans. It also allows Solomons Gold to continue producing high-quality chocolate.

To support cocoa farmers, Strongim Bisnis is collaborating with C-Corp to establish Phase Two of their partnership. Business Partnerships Director for Strongim Bisnis, Tim Lawther, visited Solomons Gold’s chocolate factory in New Zealand, during his stay in the country last month. This visit allowed Strongim Bisnis and Solomons Gold to discuss the next phase of their partnership, in person.

The next phase of the partnership will support cocoa crop management and rehabilitation and farming cocoa as a business. It will also introduce cocoa nurseries to be owned and managed by women in particular. Strongim Bisnis’ support aims to increase income for rural farmers, cocoa aggregators and others within the cocoa supply chain domestically and internationally.

Strongim Bisnis is an Australian Government funded program that supports growth in the tourism, cocoa and coconut sectors with a strong focus on supporting women.