17 Mar 2010

Australia boosts Solomons cocoa production

3:34 pm on 17 March 2010

The Australian High Commission says a new scheme to boost cocoa production in Solomon Islands will improve the incomes of families.

The Cocoa Livelihood Improvement Project was launched last week by the Australian High Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development.

The Counsellor for Development Cooperation at the High Commission, Kamal Azmi says farmers will be trained in how to improve their production and processing techniques.

He says the project will focus on the key cocoa growing provinces of Malaita, Guadalcanal, and Makira and Western Province.

"I think the benefits of the cocoa programme for Solomon Islanders is the opportunity to increase their household incomes. Which means they can improve their ability to buy fuel, buy food, pay for school fees and so forth; improve their general quality of life."

Kamal Azmi says the Australian Government has so far committed funding of about 3.2 million US dollars over four years.