BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO
THE 2018 Solomon Islands Cocoa and Chocolate (SolChoc) Festival launching yesterday illustrates forged partnerships between development partners, non-governmental organisations, Government and private sector.
This event was organised by the Strongim Bisnis organisation in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the Commodities Export Marketing Authority (CEMA), Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), the Pacific and Horticulture Market Access Programme (PHAMA), the Rural Development Programme (DAP) and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
Guest speaker, Prime Minister Rick Houenipewela officially launched the 2018 SolChoc festival.
Speaking during the event he said this is an illustration of players working together in ensuring the SolChoc festival happened.
“This is an excellent illustration of an achieved forged partnership between development partners, non-governmental organisations the government and private sector.
“Also it does point to the great potential that one crop such coca can do to this country’s social and economic development efforts and endeavours.”
Hou said yesterday’s occasion was also a time to reflect and appreciate the potential of cocoa to the nation’s economy.
He said the cocoa industry is an important building block in diversifying the country’s export base and to Solomon Islands’ economy more generally in the future.
The Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, HE Roderick Brazier congratulated the country’s cocoa industry, adding that it is great to see international chocolate makers, cocoa buyers and representatives being part of the celebration.
He said the production of quality dried cocoa beans from Solomon Islands for the international market has the capacity to increase incomes, create employment and improve the wellbeing of cocoa-producing communities in the country.