Dried cocoa beans processed at the new laboratory. Photo credit: SIBC.

Dried cocoa beans processed at the new laboratory. Photo credit: SIBC.

The recently opened National Cocoa Quality Testing Laboratory will enable exporters for the first time to test their beans and receive accreditation for quality.

A government statement said certification, in turn, should increase the incentive to produce higher quality beans which can attract higher prices internationally.

Minister of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration, William Marau and the visiting Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment Honourable Steven Ciobo jointly opened the new facility Tuesday this week.

Minister of Commerce, William Marau said the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government welcomes such initiatives that would have positive change for the rural cocoa growers, traders, exporters and potential processors with avenue to assist them identify the quality of their cocoa products so as to be competitive in markets overseas.

With this new quality testing facility, farmers will be able to demonstrate the quality of their cocoa products internationally, ensuring that products meet contractual requirements and are rewarded for improving the quality of their products.

The Australian Government provided more than 6-hundred thousand Solomon dollars for the laboratory through the Pacific Horticultural & Agricultural Market Access Program, PHAMA.

The goal of PHAMA is to increase economic growth and improve rural livelihoods in selected Pacific Island Countries by obtaining, maintaining and improving access to markets for exports of selected high-value primary products.

Meanwhile, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), also co-fund one of the equipment for the laboratory although not being part of the initial development arrangements.

Commerce Minister Marau encouraged stakeholders to collaborate and consolidate their efforts in the cocoa industry to exploit the full economic potential of cocoa as a commodity and resource that will give more benefit to the people along the value chain.

He said it is along this line that the DCC Government has moved to focus on the productive and economic sector, which it believes is the only pathway towards attaining the long-term economic and social stability of Solomon Islands.

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