May 26 2022, Honiara – The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) has launched an online digital brokerage platform which will serve as a central mechanism for exporters and importers of cocoa and other tree crops in Solomon Islands.
A first for the country, the digital brokerage platform is an initiative taken by SICCI and the Australia and New Zealand supported Pacific Horticultural & Agricultural Market Access Plus (PHAMA Plus) Program. The new digital platform primarily provides an avenue for local exporters of cocoa, coconut, ngali-nut and other tree crops to reliably share information pertaining to their products with interested buyers or importers wherever they are in the world.
In officially launching the digital platform, Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Dr Lachlan Strahan said: “As a small, dispersed, and remote country with limited transport links, Solomon Islands faces particular challenges in getting goods to international markets. That’s why nimble and innovative tools like this digital brokerage platform are so important. The platform connects farmers, exporters and importers, bringing income back into rural communities. I’m pleased Australia and New Zealand have been able to support this partnership between PHAMA Plus and SICCI. Having a strong formal sector is vital for Solomon Islands economic recovery from COVID-19.”
The launch event on Monday 23 May 2022 was attended by stakeholders from the tree crops sector and the Deputy Secretary Technical for the Ministry of Commerce Industry Labour & Immigration (MCILI) Mr Eric George, on behalf of the government in support of the contribution of the digital platform to the country’s export and agriculture industry.
SICCI’s Export Industry and Development Officer, Ronnie Golopitu says, apparently, there is a significant information gap between importers and exporters of cocoa and other tree crops in Solomon Islands.
He explains, “Interested buyers have limited access to a centralized mechanism to learn about the Solomon Islands tree crops. The lack of information sharing between local exporters and buyers is one of the main reasons why local exporters are often marginalized in terms of new market accessibility”.
The digital brokerage platform will provide a centralized mechanism that will consolidate information on key export markets and other essential key market requirements including a list of SICCI members who are exporting cocoa, coconut, and ngali-nuts.
Further explaining the importance of the brokerage, Mr Golopitu says the digital platform will be a boost for the local exporters and primary producers particularly farmers.
“The digital brokerage will also provide direct communication and dialogue tool, which is aimed at improving the relationship between the local farmers, exporters and importers. It will also provide an avenue whereby the actors involved can publish and read up information relevant to them,” said Mr Golopitu.
With the impacts of COVID-19 on private sector businesses in the country, SICCI sees this initiative as an important one going forward.
SICCI Chief Executive Officer Natalina Hong adds: “Adapting to online technology during the current COVID19 impact global business environment is critical for sustainability of the industry. SICCI is excited to pilot this facilitation and information services initiative for exporters and buyers.”
The services and benefits of the online digital brokerage platform is currently free for SICCI members only during the pilot period. Other agribusinesses who want to access the service for free can get in touch with our office to become a member.
- Press Release