THE country’s copra industry has experienced a major boost in terms of its production, from October 2015 through to the current, a latest revelations has exposed.
This is recorded from the farmers’ platform through to the export market over the past months.
In an interview with a General Manager from one of the three leading exporting companies in the country, the current pace that the copra industry is operating on is progressive.
This is due to the many improvements and compromises that both the farmers and exporters have in common over the passing months.
“The production of copra is now accelerating as rural farmers in the villages have now started to see the benefiting side of the industry.
“They have cleaned old plantations willingly due to the competitiveness of the buying prices of copra in the country.
“Currently, there are three exporters of bulk copra operating in the country and the providence of attractive buying prices is a result of this major boost to date,” the informant said.
She moved on to say that most youths from the rural areas are producing copra daily with an average of 6 to 50 bags of copra for individual households at one sale.
They are also spending SBD$20, 000 to SBD$300, 000 daily to purchase copra from the rural Solomon Islands. It was understood that, the exporters buys SBD$4.00 to SBD$5.00 per kilogram of bags from the farmers.
The Manager said this is the highest record that the industry has noted since the privatization of the industry from the Commodities Export Marketing Authority (CEMA) few years ago.
“Another contributing factor to the boost in copra production in country is the attractive price in the world market.
“From February to the current, there is a very competitive price in the world market.
“This change has forced farmers to go back into farming,” the former CEMA employee told the Solomon Star.
She said after some years now, the exporters are now trying to find ways to help rural farmers by introducing some incentives to cater for the rising number of farmers so that everybody can benefit enormously from the industry.
“The first incentive we introduced was the replacing of the packing bags. When the farmers came to sell their produce, we replaced the second hand bags to new bags – a totally different approach as before.
“Second, as exporters we are trying to be co-coordinative with transportation. We are currently doing arrangements with shippers to help farmers transport their produces to the nearest buying centres in the provinces.
“Trucks were also provided at the jetties in Honiara for farmers to transport their bags to the buying centres in the city.
“With these, farmers can receive their payments upon delivery or sale of the products,” she said.
The female manager told the Solomon Star that it took almost three years to sustain the cash flow of the rural people.
Meanwhile, she also urged CEMA to do a mini-survey to see what areas they are weak on so that it can be improved for the better of the industry.
By doing so, it will give a clear picture of what is there or lacking in the development of the industry, she said.
She also highlighted that, there is an attractive market in the sustainability of the industry but there is still a lack in the production and calls for prompt assistance from the National Government through its line ministry.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA