First things first – Cassava

Robert Sisilo, left, and V. Reddy talks cassava & taro
Advertise with Islandsun

MELBOURNE-BASED Vinay Reddy, Managing Director of Vinay’s Food, has been buying cassava from Varivao Holdings Ltd since 2019 and has so far received seven containers of yellow cassava from Solomon Islands.

 And he wants more.

So much so that when the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Australia, Robert Sisilo, visited Reddy at his Foods storage warehouse last month to thank him for partnering with Varivao and buy SI cassava, he also asked why not taro?

“One thing at a time bro!  I want SI to give me 100 tons of cassava every year and when we are able to meet our target then we will start buying taro,” Reddy said.

“So please help me with cassava. I need a lot!”  Reddy, originally from Fiji and also interested in buying fresh fish from SI, pleaded as his cassava stock has long run out because of the very high demand in Australia.

The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade has supported Varivao Holdings Ltd with their Cassava export to Australia for the past year. 

The project is now promoting other local businesses and farmers to grow more taro for export.

Since his posting to Canberra, Sisilo has put labour mobility and trade with Australia as his number one priority. 

In December last year he visited Kokonut Pacific Australia (KPA), based in New South Wales, and thanked the owners for partnering with Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands (KPSI) since 2004.

In March Sisilo met Clive Carrol, Founder of C-Corp which buys Solomon Islands cocoa, process and export it and at the same time provides many farmers with technical advice and financial support to improve the quality of their cocoa and lives. 

It’s now the no. 2 exporter of cocoa in Solomon Islands.

Sisilo also met Sol-tuna’s agent in Brisbane and was told the first container of canned tuna from Noro will land in Sydney during the second quarter of 2021. 

He will reach out to others already investing and those interested in investing in the Solomon Islands during the course of the year.