The Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand’s Path to Market Workshops attracted a good number of potential exporters in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu.

PTI NZ Path to Market participants in Gizo Solomon Islands with PTI’s Mr Greenslade and Mr Furlong.

This Path to Market programme was organised by Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand in association with the local Economic Development Agencies (EDAs): the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce. The EDAs identify and recommend potential exporters for the PTI NZ Path to Market Workshops. The workshops were jointly delivered by PTI NZ Trade & Investment Commissioner Michael Greenslade and Ian Furlong, Trade Development Manager.

About 60 attendees were at the workshops with one each held in Honiara and Gizo in the Solomon Islands followed by Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Four Solomon Islands companies attending the PTI NZ Path to Market were very positive about their experience and felt the content was relevant to their needs.

Shane Tutua is the co-owner/Manager of SolAgro Products, a Solomon Islands owned company that specialises in buying, packaging and selling edible Ngali nuts in the Solomon Islands local market.

Mr Furlong hands over a certificate to a PTI NZ Path to Market programme participant.

The Ngali nuts also known as galip or canarium nuts and provide an important source of protein for the local population.  Harvesting and selling ngali nuts is also an important source of income. “The nuts are baked using traditional technology that gives a unique island flavour” Mr Tutua said.  Some of the nuts are already being exported to New Caledonia.

One of his main concerns is improving his labelling, packaging and pricing to help sell their products in new markets Mr Tutua said.  Mr Tutua said 10 per cent of the profits are returned to the communities they work with.

Agnes Pilopaso of Tupaghotua Cocoa Plantation Exporters was keen to find out more on successfully selling products, costing, pricing and profitability.

She has been exporting cocoa to Malaysia, Singapore, Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia.  Mrs Pilopaso employs 38 people on her coffee farm with 62 more farmers. She has a plantation of 125 hectares of cocoa. The beans are 100% organic.  Mr Pilopaso said the workshops had really helped her and she had learnt a lot from them.

Another attendee, Peter Maepioh, represented the Kulu Kulu Handicraft Project Association.  The Solomon Islands crafts are well known throughout the Pacific with their unique flair for carvings using mother of pearl and fine weaving. There are 40 people in the association.  The group specialises in handicrafts using wood, stone and weaving. Mr Maepioh attended Path to Market, keen to improve packaging and to promote the history of their customs and cultures.

Meanwhile, Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) producer, George Dora of Pacific Farm Holding Limited was also positive about the workshop.  Mr Dora is the project co-ordinator and administrator for the company.  They are currently exporting mature coconuts and virgin coconut oil to Australia.  Their main point of difference is the organic nature of their business and the help it provides to women and children in rural villages.

Mr Furlong said, “It was pleasing to see such strong demand for the PTI Path to Market workshops in Honiara and Port Vila as well as in the Western region of Gizo where 20 people attended.  It seems that word is spreading about the value of the business capability building as delivered by PTI.”

The next PTI Path to Market workshops will be held in Samoa and Tonga.

For more information, please contact Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager on

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