Trade and agriculture show at arts festival attracts thousands

27/07/2012

This year’s Solomon Islands Trade Show – normally held during the country’s Independence Day celebrations – was timed to coincide with the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts to present the country’s potential to thousands of regional visitors who were in the country for the festival.<!--more-->

Although much of international spotlight fell on the events surrounding the four yearly festival held in Honiara, the annual National Trade and Agricultural Show in Chinatown from 5-13 July snapped up much local attention, according to <strong>Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest’s</strong> Eleanor Ikinofo who was in Honiara for the event.

[caption id="attachment_3561" align="alignright" width="138" caption="Visitors throng one of the booths at the trade and agriculture show in Honiara. (Pic: Eleanor Ikinofo)"]<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/IMG_3756.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-3561" title="Booth at Trade and Agriculture show in Honiara" src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/IMG_3756.jpg" alt="" width="138" height="104" /></a>[/caption]

Hundreds turned out to the opening by Prime Minister Gordan Darcy Lilo who announced that the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration would be establishing provincial small to medium business hubs in Temotu, Makira, Malaita and Guadalcanal, as reported in <strong>Pacific Periscope</strong> week before last.

Consultations would also be made on the establishment of an SME Support fund. In a recent World Bank and International Finance (2012) Doing Business study comparing how easy it is to do business in a regulatory environment, Solomon Islands ranked 84th out of 183 countries where New Zealand was the best performer globally.

Where the cultural and arts festival played to an international stage, the tradeshow reflected life’s nitty-gritty, with agriculture and sustainable local food production stalls and produce, pest control for the introduced dangers from African snails, forestry, growing, harvesting and timber production.

A local inventor exhibited a steam cooker made from an old oil drum, behind him children gathered around the remnants of another invention, an old grow bed system with small fish swimming in a shallow pool of water.

Bob Pollard of Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands was one local company supporting the event to promote coconut oil products. Mr Pollard took over the Solomon Islands arm of Kokonut Pacific recently and with his hard working team and support from rural community coconut oil producers, the company plans to double its exports to Australia this year. Although there are no current plans to export to New Zealand, Mr Pollard says it could be a market for the future.

NGO’s, government and training organisations, and small businesses such as ice cream vendor Sarah’s and Kokonut Pacific rubbed shoulders at the tradeshow with the likes of Telecom, Sol Brew, Punjas and Rotumold to Allied Gold Mining, Lucas Miller and Stihl.

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