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New Zealand supporting the country’s cocoa industry

New Zealand deputy high comissioner to solomon islands Mr Tim Breeze

THE Solomon Islands cocoa and chocolate week 2017 who also worked with the pacific horticultural and agricultural market access programme launched Solomon Islands Gold chocolate yesterday

During the launching of the Solomon Gold 2017 New Zealand’s deputy of high commissioner to the Solomon Islands Mr Tim Breeze stated that sustainable economic development is at the heart of New Zealand’s support here in the country exporters to gain access to overseas market is a critical part of that focus.

Mr Tim said that alongside Australia they support the Solomon Islands cocoa industry and its exporters through the horticultural and agricultural market access programme (PHAMA).

Through this programme they work with both the public and private sectors to support a number of pacific island countries including Solomon Islands to utilise opportunities to export a wider range of primary and value added commodity including products such as cocoa he said

Mr Breeze also added that as many of us will know that cocoa is an important export earner and source of rural livelihood with 75 percent of export returns retained by producers.

20-25 000 small holder farmers and their households are involved in production; 4000-5000 tonnes are produced annually, mainly by these small holders. However cocoa is one of the county’s biggest agricultural export earners, generating around USD 15 million in export per year he said

Furthermore Mr Tim Breeze also said that more exports go the lower quality and priced, Bulk processing markets in Asia, although small exports to niche markers in New Zealand and Australia are increasing.

Moreover the rising global demand, particularly in Asia is expected to mean international prices continue to increase over a long term he added.

In addition he said that as a consumer tastes change, there is also growing demand for high quality, single origin cocoa to make dark chocolate and in order to facilitate the country’s industry to meet this demand for higher quality chocolate, New Zealand through PHAMA on a number of actions including; cocoa quality, market survey, improving quality, gender analysis, access to finance and industry development.

New Zealand believed that there is a significant growth in the cocoa here in the Solomon Islands, in particularly the ability to meet the increasing demand of origin high quality cocoa to make dark chocolate bars he said

Lastly he said that they hope and expect that the assistance they are providing to the cocoa industry in the country will help provide the country’s cocoa with its own quality brand recognition in New Zealand and a range of markets leading to growth in the industry and ultimately more jobs and strengthened Solomon Islands economy.

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