The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) through its Export Industry Development Department welcomes the recently launched Northwest Guadalcanal Development Association (NWGDA) and the positive impacts such an initiative will have on the lives of people in our rural communities once its objectives are fulfilled.
SICCI Export Industry Development Officer (EIDO), Mr Ronnie Golopitu was among guest speakers during the launch of NWGDA on Friday 21 August at Pisei, Aruligo in Northwest Guadalcanal.
Mr Golopitu says his department focuses mainly on the development of the productive sector including agriculture, as such, recognises the value in the NWGDA as a platform to advocate and support the needs of rural farmers and services providers in Northwest Guadalcanal as the way forward for our rural communities.
“I believe many other communities in our rural provinces share the same vision to achieve the full potential of their resources which in turn leads to better lives for our people and we acknowledge the community members who have taken that bold step and worked together in establishing this association in Northwest Guadalcanal,” he said.
The NWGDA currently has around 1221 members, 60% of which are women, who are involved in twelve (12) different sectors including copra, cocoa, noni, gardening, poultry, duck farming, fisheries, youth events, programs, trainings and service provisions, tourism and workshops.
“The establishment of this association will benefit existing businesses in the community and help to generate new business opportunities and new work opportunities,” Mr Golopitu said.
SICCI through its partnership with PHAMA Plus and the Rural Development Programme (RDP) have engaged the Export Industry Development Officer (EIDO) to develop Industry Working Groups (IWGs) into representative and sustainable working bodies to progress relevant market access related activities to assist export industry growth.
Mr Golopitu said currently his department acts as secretary to coconut, cocoa, sawn timber and handicrafts working groups and also welcome community associations like NWGDA to represent their members in these respective sectors in the working groups (IWGs).
“We also help the IWGs through facilitated trainings, information sessions and events that businesses can send their reps to participate in,” he said.
The SICCI Export Industry Department meanwhile encourage members and communities in Northwest Guadalcanal to work together with the NWGDA executive as their voice representing them in their struggle to realise the full potential of their resources.
NWGDA Chairman, Simon Chottu said the association was set up with the aim to support service providers and farmers especially women in communities around Northwest Guadalcanal ease the burden and expense of traveling long distance with their products to Honiara City with little return in terms cash to meet family needs.
NWGDA has developed their own constitution while putting emphasis on the development of their young people as the future human resource for communities in Northwest Guadalcanal.
Also present at the launch were representatives from the Australian High Commission in Honiara, Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA) and Strongim Bisnis.