A recent nutritional content test undertaken by Cawthron Institute in New Zealand confirmed the purity of Solomon Islands honey is on a par with New Zealand’s best. But a series of important steps are needed before the honey is export-ready and Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand’s Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong is helping to facilitate the process with the nutritional content test.

Earlier in March, Rodney Suibaea of the Solomon Islands Small Business Enterprise Centre brought over 20 bottles of Solomon Islands honey under the brand name Bavara Honey as part of PTI NZ’s Pasifika Path to Market programme in the Pasifika Business Market at Western Springs.

Honey lovers were all over the Solomon Islands Honey booth snapping up all but three bottles leaving just enough for showcasing to potential New Zealand buyers and for PTI NZ to send to Cawthron Institute for label nutritional testing. The positive response from festival buyers boosted confidence, that here was a definite market and PTI NZ moved through to the next step of testing the nutritional content.

“I’m happy with the test results,” said Rodney Suibaea of the Solomon Islands Small Business and Enterprise honey business.

“The nutritional content of the honey is very much similar to some of the best honey in New Zealand despite the fact it is still raw honey,” he said.

“Most of the nectar that produces the honey comes from the large forest trees and mangroves guaranteeing that what customers eat in the honey comes from the pristine and natural forests in the Solomon Islands.”

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

The recent Path to Market programme laid a very strong impression for Mr Suibaea to really work hard with the bee farmers to boost production he said.

Solomon Islands’ Small Business Enterprise Centre (SISBEC) has plans to work with the Solomon Islands Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to create a regulatory body that ensures all honey products are handled, processed and packaged according to the best international health standards in food handling and processing.  That the quality and labelling is up to world standards.

The long-term plan is to continue the partnership with local honey farmers and providing a market for their honey.

Mr Suibaea estimated production by the end of year is around 2-3 tonnes. However, if they can bump that up to 8-10 tonnes “then there’s a possibility for export,” Mr Suibaea said.

“Farmers understand SISBEC values quality in the product. Gradually SISBEC Honey business is moving closer towards (being) export capable.”

Mr Suibaea thanked the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce for networking them to PTI New Zealand and Australia’s partnerships and the Marketing division of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Commerce who enabled SISBEC to travel to New Zealand and promote the product.

For more information contact Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager on ian.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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