Dear Editor – In the past few days, Solomon’s Fashion Week was officially opened in Honiara with an exhibition of beautiful clothes and accessories designed by local tailors, women’s group and artists.
Officially opening the occasion, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Youths, Children and Family Affairs, Ethel Sigimanu, said the fashion week was to encourage the creation of designs, prints, and unique products that could give Solomon Islands a more competitive edge in the regional market.
She believed that with the right support from partners and development approach they could establish a strong and competitive industry.
Similar sentiments were expressed by the President of Solomon’s Fashion Week, Justina Radclyffe, who said, “Fashion is not only about the end products of clothes but is an industry that made up of more than fashioner designers.”
Local fashion designers, with their latent talent and craftsmanship, need the support outlined by Ms Sigimanu and, judging from the display of fashionable garments illustrated in your newspaper they seem to have much potential for the local and international markets, especially in the Pacific region.
Also this week, according to Radio New Zealand International (RNZI), food and beverage exporters from the Pacific say one of the greatest challenges they face is having to constantly adapt to and overcome the effects of climate changes and exporters of Pandanus fruit from Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Niue, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands and Palau are in New Zealand this week to learn more about breaking their products into a larger export market.
A company from Niue, Niue Vanilla International, is looking to officially launch its organic vanilla bean products in the New Zealand market.
Its managing director, Stanley Kalauni, said the products include fresh cured vanilla beans and vanilla paste, which are all hand made on Niue.
Another company in New Zealand for the mission, the Palau Aquaculture Cooperative Association, is looking to export giant clams, and has adopted innovative farming methods to ensure climate change is not an obstacle.
The Solomon Islands has reported success in the international arena with its cocoa and virgin oil products but does more need to be done with finding markets for its other range of local products and produce, coffee, bananas, coconuts, tuna, to name just a few?
Other smaller Pacific countries are meeting the challenges of climate change head on by sourcing external markets for their adapted products and I would encourage the Solomon Islands, if not already, to follow in their steps.