Local cocoa exporter, Albert Fono, has called on the Prime Minister to intervene in the cocoa license controversy and investigate the Commerce Minister's decision on the issue.Fono of Arania Enterprise told the National Broadcaster, SIBC, that he makes the call on behalf of local cocoa exporters.
The Arania Enterprise Director also questioned why the Commodities Export Marketing Authority (CEMA) Board overlooked applications from local Solomon exporters for the same license and the Commerce Minister's preference for Pacific Exporters Limited.
CEMA is a statutory body established to promote commodity exports. Under the Act, only CEMA, or a person licensed by it, can export coconut and coconut products, copra, cocoa pods, cocoa beans and products, palm oil, palm kernel, palm-based products, coffee, and spices.
Agriculture accounts for 20% of GDP and is among the largest sectors of the economy. Recent data showed that well over 4,000 tonnes of cocoa were exported in recent times, with a market value of USD$10 million dollars.