North-west Guadalcanal MP Dettke makes maiden export of multi-million dollar Noni product
By Alfred Sasako
NORTH-WEST Guadalcanal MP Bodo Dettke is today standing taller than the rest of his Parliamentary colleagues, opening a potential revival for the nation’s stagnant economy.
While uncertainty looms larger over the passage of the 2018 National Budget this week – the source many constituencies rely on for their funding – Hon Dettke was yesterday busy overseeing the loading of 20 tonnes of Noni juice being exported to Australia.
The consignment leaves for Brisbane tomorrow. It is the first of 40 tonnes of juice extracted from organic Noni fruit which were bought from North-West Guadalcanal farmers.
The juice is being stored in 1,000-litre Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC), which is accepted internationally for carrying such goods.
“Today Noni farming is taking North-West Guadalcanal Constituency by storm,” Mr Dettke proudly told Island Sun yesterday as he looked on while his workers prepared the first container for shipment.
“This is the sort of thing we as Members of Parliament should be doing to help our rural people,” he said.
This week Dettke was “invited” by the Government to help other MPs grow Noni.
“The problem I have with the government is that they are all anti-development. Every single piece of imported equipment you see here we had to pay duty and yet this is to help the rural people.
“We had to drop coconut production and potatoes because it has become very expensive. We were never given duty exemptions and yet the government keeps talking about rural development,” Dettke said.
Bernard Garo, the head of the newly-formed Farmers’ Association described as “a revolution” what Noni farming is doing in North-West Guadalcanal.
“This is the beginning of a revolution. And it is the women who are leading this revolution, which in a few years could transform the rural North-West Guadalcanal into the richest area in Solomon Islands,” Mr Garo, who initially was cynical about Noni farming when Dettke first talked about it, said.
Dettke said. “I was not so sure myself about it all when we first started. But now I am surprised at the speed Noni farming is taking in my Constituency. If the government can put money in this endeavour, I tell you this country will take off in no time.”
Return on investing on Noni farming is huge.
Samoa which controls 50 percent of the market, for example, Noni export brings in about USD2 billion annually to that country’s economy.
Dettke said Solomon Islands can become the number one Noni producing country in the Pacific. It is estimated that one Noni tree can produce 13kg of fruit per month on average.
That means that one hectare of Noni farm of 1,600 trees can produce 20,800kg of fruit per month. At the current roadside price of $3 per kilogramme, the return to a farmer who owns one hectare is $62,000 a month, he said.