24 Jul 2012

Solomons wants massive cocoa production increase

6:28 pm on 24 July 2012

The Ministry of Agriculture in Solomon Islands says it is working to double the country's cocoa production by 2014 and triple it by 2017.

It says global demand for cocoa is growing and the country has huge potential to expand the industry.

The Minister, Connelly Sandakabatu, says the country's cocoa output generates about 18 million US dollars a year and there is potential for this to increase.

He says current exports are limited to markets in Singapore and Europe but he believes they can expand once better quality cocoa is grown.

"At the moment what's in mind is getting the production straight; getting the production on the rise; and also with data quality. And the market I'm sure will fall in place as we produce more and more and of the best quality."

Connelly Sandakabatu says the Ministry is running a programme that involves the government funding community development officers who are working with farmers to grow more cocoa.