Cocoa is an important export earner for rural communities and small holder farms and their households in the Solomon Islands.
Cathliro Commodities Development Limited (CCDL) is attending Auckland’s Pasifika Festival under the Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I) Pacific Path to Market programme.
PT&I hosted its Pacific Path to Market programme in the Solomon Islands last year and from the workshops identified a group of companies capable of exporting to New Zealand.
CCDL is a cocoa producing company, locally owned and managed by Diana Yates. The company has been in operation for 6 years. It has 30 employees. Its main business activity is exporting cocoa beans to Malaysia.
Ms Yates said, the fundamental goal of the company is to provide employment and ultimately improve the livelihood of people in the rural parts of Isabel, Solomon Islands in a sustainable way.
Apart from buying cocoa beans from other farmers in the country, CCDL owns 99 hectares of land, at Garanga, Maringe District in Isabel Province – 20% of which is used for cocoa farming. The company aims to continue to grow more cocoa and also to diversify into other agricultural and horticultural products such as cassava, piggery, poultry, bananas, pineapples and aloe vera.
Cathliro is also exploring available alternatives to ensure rural development for women. A specific example of this is tapping into the rural Tatamba economic growth centre at Tatamba village, Gao Bugotu Consituency in Isabel, to develop projects to involve women and including the rural high school dropouts and introducing the populace to sustainable economic activities.
The company has existing facilities in Honiara, which it is planning to turn into a Research Centre for cocoa products development and tropical food security. It is currently doing desk review on fruit drying techniques and facilities in the country and investigating public-private partnerships to enable it contribute to better lives for Solomon Islanders.
The country produces approximately 5,000 metric tonnes (mt) per year however the industry is still developing. With 75% of export earnings retained by the producer and 50% of producers are women the cocoa industry provides a livelihood for many involved in its production.