Australia helps process Solomons timber locally
Australia’s private sector development initiative, Strongim Bisnis, is working with Kolombangara Forest Products Limited (KFPL) to process Solomon Islands plantation timber into wooden pallets made specifically for SolTuna.
KFPL has announced finalised arrangements to supply SolTuna with a minimum of 5,000 pallets a year. KFPL’s pallets will replace pallets previously imported from Thailand. The pallets will be used to transport SolTuna cans and tuna loins that are sold locally and exported.
KFPL General Manager, Dan Raymond, said “It is amazing that Solomon Islands exports so much wood, but we have to import it back as finished product. Now, we are processing some of our own wood. KFPL thanks the people of Australia, who through the Australian High Commission have made this possible.”
“We also thank SolTuna who have been working with us for about two years now to make this happen. SolTuna is a great local business and we are proud to work with them”, said Mr. Raymond.
As a result of the new agreement,KFPL will employ extra staff on Kolombangara, export fewer logs and instead process them directly in Solomon Islands; keeping more money in the local economy. By processing the wood locally, KFPL will also support the environment by reducing greenhouse gases previously created by importing pallets.
SolTuna will also benefit by using a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified product. This certification guarantees that the pallets meet world-class environmental and social responsibility criteria. SolTuna CEO, Jim Alexander said “SolTuna is proud to continue showcasing the best of Solomon Islands. Not only is our tuna an iconic Solomon Islands product, but it will now be exported on environmentally-friendly, Solomon Islands wood processed into pallets, here in our own country.”
Australian Acting High Commissioner, Ms Sally-Anne Vincent, said “As a strong supporter of the private sector in Solomon Islands, Australia is pleased to see these two great Solomon Islands companies working together and innovating through our Strongim Bisnis program. The Australian High Commission saw the potential in this partnership during our visit to KFPL and SolTuna last year. We are proud that Strongim Bisnis has supported both partners to launch an initiative that will benefit Solomon Islands’ economy and its people into the future.”
Strongim Bisnis works in the cocoa, coconut, tourism, financial services, timber, horticulture and waste management sectors, with a strong focus on creating opportunities for women, youth and people with disability.