Efforts are underway to improve the cocoa industry’s knowledge of how the international cocoa market works, and to raise awareness on ways to potentially improve export returns for Solomon Islands cocoa.
Cocoa industry stakeholders met this month to hear the findings of a study conducted by an international cocoa market expert looking at the structure of Solomon Islands cocoa exports and opportunities to improve returns. Staff from the Commodity Export Marketing Authority (CEMA) and Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock also participated.
The study highlighted that there may be opportunities to improve returns by better access to trade finance secured against contracts signed with the overseas buyers. It also highlighted that the industry will need to make significant improvements in quality before Solomon Islands is able to secure higher value markets for its cocoa.
Contamination of beans with smoke during the drying process was noted as the most significant quality issue.
Other areas for improvement include the capacity of CEMA to source and share with producers and exporters market information on pricing and quality requirements.
A cocoa industry working group meeting was held to discuss the findings. The group identified the priorities for action as improving access to trade finance facilities, addressing quality issues, improving market information availability, establishing a strong representative body for the industry, and supporting marketing activities to build direct relationships with new customers and markets.
The study was funded via the Australian government funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA) as part of its work to improve exports for Solomon Islands products.
“The study has been very helpful in clarifying what the reality of Solomon Islands cocoa position in the market is and the market factors that are affecting export returns,” said Mr Alfred Ramoagalo, General Manager for CEMA.
“CEMA looks forward to working with the industry to progress improvements in market information and quality.”
Joyce Mary from cocoa exporter Chan Wings Motor Ltd said that the information provided on markets and quality had been very useful, and had helped them to better understand how they may be able to improve their cocoa exporting business.
National Coordinator for PHAMA, Mr Andrew Sale, announced that further assistance would be provided to support follow activities to the study through the course of the year based on the priorities identified through the cocoa industry working group.
PHAMA is a Australian Government-funded initiative that provides practical and targeted assistance to support Pacific Island Countries to gainaccess for new products into new markets, and maintain and improve existing trade by helping them manage the regulatory aspects of exporting primary products. www.phama.com.au
Press Release: PHAMA
For further media information please contact:
Mr Andrew Sale
PHAMA National Coordinator in Solomon Islands.
Phone: +677 7495319