Five Solomon Islands local businesses are participating in this year’s Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand’s Path to Market programme in Auckland.
This programme opens opportunities for companies and their products to enter the New Zealand market and potentially beyond.
Forty Pacific Island companies and businesses with market ready or nearly market ready products participated in the five-day trade mission from Friday 5 April to Tuesday 9 April 2019.
Solomon Islands’ delegation at this year’s Path to Market was led by Mr John Paul Alasia, the Export Industry Development Officer (EIDO) of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI).
This is the third successive year for Solomon Islands businesses to showcase their products at the event, made possible through SICCI’s partnership with PTI New Zealand, with funding from Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Commerce Industry Labour and Immigration, and PHAMA PLUS.
This is part of SICCI’s objective to increase the scale of operations and market access and therefore the capacity of local businesses to achieve their full potential
Chottu’s Guadalcanal Products Ltd producing Noni Juice; Bethlehem Community Handicraft, Solkava and the Technical Institute of Malaita with their gemstone have already talked with representatives from Alibaba, China’s biggest online market, to use their online platform to sell their locally made products.
Also, Solomon Islands’ Kava, Noni fruit and Gemstone have engaged with potential buyers in New Zealand.
SICCI’s Mr Alasia said the important thing now is for these businesses to follow up on these opportunities.
“The point is we need the private sector working together with Government to support our local potential export ready businesses on product development and market awareness.
“This is very critical for job creation and ultimately economic growth,” he said.
Mr Alasia also noted that the Path to Market programme is a great opportunity for local businesses to test market their products and learn from New Zealand.
“The New Zealand market provides a platform that we can learn from to improve our products,” he said.
Shirly Mani who owns Solkava started her business last year and has promoted her finely-grounded Kava sourced from the highlands of Malaita and Isabel Provinces.
Ms Mani thank SICCI and the PHAMA Plus programme for supporting her and giving Solkava the opportunity to attend the trade mission to New Zealand.
“It’s really hard for Kava to enter the New Zealand market. This trade mission has given me the opportunity to showcase my Kava product and I was fortunate to meet a potential distributor in New Zealand.
“They tested my Kava sample and really liked it.
During the trade show at The Cloud in Auckland on April 6, Ms Mani managed to sell 13kg of her Kava samples that she brought over to New Zealand.
“I’m very happy because it confirms to me that they like our Kava from the Solomon Islands,” she said.
The other thing Ms Mani said she learnt during the trip was product development.
“When I return home, I will start working on improving my product presentation and labelling which I learn is very important for any market overseas.
“I also had the chance to meet with representatives of Alibaba from China during the ‘meet the buyers’ session and they would love to have my Kava on their online market website,” she said.
The Path to Market Auckland programme finished ended on10 April 2019 with the buyers, mentors meetings and certificate presentations at Te Mahurehure Marae in Auckland.
Path to Market Auckland 2019 is part of PTI NZ’s Pacific Islands region-wide programme that builds capability in Pacific Island businesses to export to New Zealand.
The programme is designed to not just introduce the products to the New Zealand consumer market but to also find distributors and retailers for the products and help establish business relationships.
The Solomon Island delegation arrived back in the country on Thursday 11th April 2019.
– SICCI Media