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Cocoa export improving

Visiting guest inspecting the local cocoa beans

THE country’s cocoa export have blossomed over the past four years and is contributing well to the country’s economy.

Chief Inspector of Commodities Export and Marketing Authority Mr Patteson Siliota said cocoa is the third major export commodity in Solomon Islands.

He said there are positive signs within the country’s cocoa industry as the trend continues to increase every year.

Mr Siliota said boutique cocoa export has been picking up since 2013 and continue to rise this year.

He stressed that the improvement sees the country recording 1.9 metric tonnes of boutique cocoa export in 2016 which has an estimate of more than USD54,599 (SBD 416,786) in return.

Mr Siliota said the figure rose in the first quarter of 2017 to 6.3 – an estimated return of USD179,968 (SBD1,373,800).

He said cocoa is Solomon Islands’ biggest agricultural export earner generating around USD$15 million annually.

Mr Siliota said 75 percent of the country’s cocoa product export are from small farmers.

He said there are approximately 20-25,000 small holder farmers and their households involved in the production and more than 50 percent of producers and processors are women.

Mr Siliota said most cocoa exports go to the bulk processing markets in Asia, but a small but significant amount has started going to niche chocolate makers in Australia and New Zealand.