PEOPLE of Makira-Ulawa Province were told yesterday the European duty free banana market is opened to them to sell their banana products.
British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Dominic Meikel John told the people of this at the opening of the Banana festival at provincial capital Kirakira.
Mr John was the quest of honour at this inaugural cultural event.
Makira-Ulawa Province is known for its wide varieties of banana species. Banana is also one of the food staples for the people there.
But despite the abundance of banana in the province, people there are yet to explore the possibility of commercialising the food crop.
Mr John told the people that the European duty free market is opened to all African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) states.
Solomon Islands is a member of the ACP.
“ACP states have been given the privilege to access the European market to sell and promote their banana products,” he said.
Mr John said the people of Makira through the national government should look at ways to enter the banana market as a means of strengthening its economic ties with the European Union.
“Makira is one of the excellent tourist destinations in Solomon Islands and it’s important to strengthen our economic ties through such products as banana to be marketed in European markets”.
He also thanked the people of Makira for their invitation and hospitality.
“The hospitality rendered by the Makira people was a good sign for the tourism industry here in Makira,” the high commissioner said.
The Makira Banana Festival, organised to recognise the significance of banana to the people of Makira, continues until this weekend.
By CHARLEY PIRINGI