More Solomon Islanders are expected to head to New Zealand this year to work as fruit pickers.

A local agent, Catherine Sheardown, certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade to recruit seasonal workers to work in New Zealand, is currently in the country to recruit more locals.

Ms. Sheardown said 70 workers will be signed up to add to the 98 local workers that have already been recruited to work in different apple farms in New Zealand since last year.

Ms. Sheardown said she will continue to do her recruitment throughout this year and by the end of this year, she expects to hit a total of 500 workers recruited to work under the scheme.

The Ministry's Trade analyst, Daniel Hertherington, said local workers to be recruited here are more privileged this year as seasonal workers are entitled top travel to New Zealand on special return airfares.

"The special return airfares have come about as a result of negotiations between our local farm agent and the Best United Travel agencies."

Mr. Hertherington said they are pleased with efforts made by local agent Ms.

Mr. Hertherington said with the arrangement made for special airfares, workers are now expected to bring back more money into the country.

He said Solomon Islands workers have been offered cheap airfares compared to workers going from other Pacific countries, which are geographically closer to New Zealand.

More locals are expected to have the opportunity to travel and work in New Zealand with the cheap airfares offered.

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