The Government has deferred the one million dollar Pearl Farming Investment Project funded by the government of the Republic Of China for next year.

This was revealed by the Minister for Fisheries Hon. Nollen Leni, in response to a question raised by the opposition on how local farmers have benefited from the ROC funded pearl project.

Minister Leni said the deferment was due to the global financial crisis and the lack of pearl stock availability at the current Pearl Farming Spot in the Western Province. He said the decision to delay the project was based on advice from responsible Ministries of the government, which includes the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination.

While the government is keen to kick start a pearl farming industry in the Solomon Islands, experts have warned that there are some challenges that the government needs to be aware of. "Because most pearl farmers hope to avoid competition by keeping their methods secret, the pearl farming industry has traditionally been one of the most problematic of aquaculture businesses to start from scratch," said Maria Haws, Director of Pearl Research and Training Programme of the University of Hawaii, in a much circulated manual on pearl farming.

For the Solomon Islands it would be relatively more difficult to obtain the technical information needed to learn how to operate a pearl farm, so there is generally a risk of spending a long period of time experimenting. Experts have said time and again that research is key to a successful pearl farming operation.