SICCI reps and member companies on Saturday 18 April met with Under Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock (MAL), Mr. Michael Hoóta for an update discussion on rice stocks in the country.

Mr Hoóta is the Chairman of the NDOC Livelihoods Sector Committee, tasked to plan for livelihood and food security issues associated with the threat of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Saturday’s meeting with SICCI and member companies heard that there is no shortage of rice in the country, and supply chains risks are being addressed proactively. Companies present were Solrice, Island Star, Low Price, Super Star, and QQQ.

Solrice, which has 70% of the market share in Solomon Islands, has six (6) weeks of stock in Honiara and four (4) to six (6) weeks of stock in the provinces. It is expecting shipment this week followed by the next shipment on May 2 and while there’ll be an expected tightening of supply before the second week of May, supply will be enough until December. Other small suppliers, which make up the remaining 30% market share, have some current stock available with 475 tonnes coming at the end of the month, however, further import is still uncertain at this time.

A common issue for our rice importers is having to find alternative suppliers with Vietnam imposing quota on its rice exports. To help rice importers at this time, some policy measures were canvassed including reducing the 6.5% goods tax; and temporarily lifting the fortification requirement so that other rice-exporting countries can be investigated. A difficulty for our rice-importers is that Solomon Islands is not an attractive contract competing with bigger volume, more regular customers from other countries.

SICCI is happy to confirm that there is no shortage of rice in the country, and with the flagged short tightening before the second shipment arrives, people should not embark on panic-buying and mass-buying.

Source: SICCI Media