Great things come in small packages.  Like bees and honey. 

Rodney Suibaea of Barvara Honey of the Solomon Islands at the Pasifika Business Market with a prospective customer trying out the honey.

The Solomon Islands is using these small things to grow the honey industry and the economy.

Rodney Suibaea of Barvara Honey, Solomon Islands, was part of the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand Path to Market Programme at Pasifika Festival in March.

And the secret’s out.  Buyers loved Barvara Honey and they want more!

Mr Suibaea was identified as a potential exporter through PTI NZ’s Path to Market multi-step programme at the in-country workshop.  Auckland’s Pasifika Festival was the next step and an initial testing ground for consumer feedback.

Imported honey is strictly controlled by New Zealand Biosecurity.  Only a few countries such as the Solomon Islands are permitted to bring honey through the gate but the honey was cleared and into Pasifika Festival where it was quickly snapped up with only a few jars reserved as samples for potential importers and distributors at business meetings the following week.

Pacific Periscope asked Mr Suibaea about his recent experience and this is what he said following his experience at the Pasifika Festival:

“I was truly excited and happy for the opportunity to come over to New Zealand under the Pacific Path to Market Program,” Mr Suibaea said.

It was Mr Suibaea’s first time attending a Pasifika Festival.

“I didn’t know the magnitude of the festival and the level of marketing exposure I will get from it,” he said.

“Well it was overwhelming, and I didn’t have enough product to sell at the festival. The little quantity of honey that I brought over was sold out. I had to apologize to some of customers at the festival to reserve three bottles of honey to show to interested business who mighty become potential buyers and importers of my honey product to New Zealand,” Mr Suibaea said.

He was glad he did as he met with three Businesses who showed interest in buying Solomon Islands Honey. The types of interested buyers included, bulk buyers – interested in the honey’s origin and taste.

Another company was interested to do business. But “They highlighted that they deal with retail marketing business and might offer a much better business,” Mr Suibaea said.

Other potential buyers were seeking exotic and premium goods. They were interested and advised on labelling and packaging. They wanted to know the contents of the honey if it had similar UMF grading used for Manuka honey.

“If it has a high content like UMF of Manuka honey, they might consider going into serious business with me,” Mr Suibaea said.

Overall, Mr Suibaea said the experience in the New Zealand leg of the Pacific Path to Market program was really a unique learning experience.

“It exposed us to the New Zealand market and sets us on a platform that get us ready to export and most importantly to use the New Zealand market as a platform where we can learn, build experience and hopefully have the capability to launch out to other bigger export market.  “Thank you PTI NZ,” Mr Suibaea said

Stages three to six of the programme was an eye opener for him and a chance to at least get a feel of what the New Zealand market would be like to position himself to be export ready, he said.

“I did not have any slightest clue as to how people will respond to the product that I brought over to New Zealand and if there will be any interested buyer for the product.”

But demand is there, and the future could be sweet for Solomon Islands Barvara Honey and its bees!

For more information email PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong at ian.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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