The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) through its Export Industry Development Department has encouraged rural cocoa and copra farmers in Makira/Ulawa Province to consider venturing into commercial enterprises that has the potential to improve the standard of living in our rural communities.
SICCI Export Industry Development Officer (EIDO), Mr. Ronnie Golopitu was in Kirakira last week as part of a delegation from SICCI, the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA) and Commodities Export Marketing Authority (CEMA) to conduct a five-day Cocoa and Copra Processing Quality Assurance and Marketing training for rural farmers in the province.
Mr. Golopitu said participants at the workshop were encouraged to be more organised and think Agribusiness as the way forward.
“It is part of SICCI’S strategy to provide relevant trainings, networking and information sharing delivery for its members and potential members especially SMEs to help them grow businesses in a more sustainable way.
“Establishing a Chamber base in the provinces is one other way to achieve a vibrant private sector in the provincial level,” he said.
Provincial Investment Officer, Mr. Selwyn Aharo and Agriculture Principal Officer, Mr. Michael Tanisapa, both of whom are based in Kirakira, acknowledged the role SICCI plays in the country and encouraged registered businesses in the cocoa and copra chain to register as members of the peak body representing private sector in the country.
SICCI through its Export Industry Development Department focuses on supporting businesses in the Agribusiness sector through the improvement of existing market arrangements and by reducing barriers for existing Industry Working Groups representing Coconut, Cocoa, Sawn Timber and Horticulture.
SICCI’s Export Industry Development Officer’s (EIDO) role is to progress development of these Industry Working Groups (IWGs) into representative and sustainable industry bodies, and to progress relevant market access related activities to assist in export industry growth in Solomon Islands.
The fundamental aim of the IWGs is to encourage the development of public private partnerships (joint industry and government consultative groups) that could be bring stakeholders together to address market access issues.
Mr. Golopitu added that SICCI sees the importance in providing an avenue for rural entrepreneurs to have access to trainings which will enable their businesses to grow and find out what other support is available through their Chamber of Commerce.
“This is because businesses in the provinces often lack access to business networks and support systems as compared to businesses in Honiara,” he said.