The ability of Solomon Islands exporters to meet overseas requirements for agricultural and fish products has been strengthened with training on quality assurance and auditing.
Staff from various business and government departments participated in a series of training courses over the past month on how to maintain and audit quality assurance systems required by overseas markets. Participating businesses included agricultural processors and fish exporters. Staff from the Commodity Export Marketing Authority and those departments in Ministries of Health and Agriculture involved in regulating exports also participated.
Training included instruction for exporters on the standards and internal auditing of food safety systems such as HACCP, while fishing industry companies Soltuna and NFD also received training to improve their ability to meet the requirements of British Retail Consortium standards expected by their overseas markets.
The training was provided via the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA) as part of its work to improve export capacity in both private and public sectors.
Solfish Copra Mill Manager Ms Shirleyter Abe said “As private sector this is a bonus for us. The training provided us with the knowledge and skills to do internal audits on our organisation's operations. So far we didn't do any audits ourselves and rely on external audits to tell us if we meet the standards. Now we must ensure that this is done in our organisation to check how we do things to meet the required standards.”
Ms Ethel Mapolu, Environmental Health Division representative, said “The training helped our department to be in a better position to work with industry to maintain standards needed, and make it easier for us to ensure Solomon Islands products can meet expected export requirements”.
National Coordinator for PHAMA, Mr Andrew Sale, announced that further assistance would be provided to both fishing and agricultural industries through the course of the year based on priorities identified by industry and government through PHAMA’s various industry working groups.
PHAMA is a AUD15 million Australian Government-funded initiative that provides practical and targeted assistance to support Pacific Island Countries to gain access for new products into new markets, and maintain and improve existing trade by helping them manage the regulatory aspects of exporting primary products. www.phama.com.au
Source: Press Release, Pacific Horticulture and Agricultural Market Access Programme (PHAMA)