Cocoa magic from the Solomon Islands

What started as a small cocoa buying family business back in the 1980’s has blossomed into a strong export company under the Fono family from Malaita, Solomon Islands.

Arania Enterprises Limited is one of four companies representing the Solomon Islands at this year’s Pasifika Festival 2017 under the banner of the Pacific Islands Trade & Invest Pacific Path to Market programme that has 28 companies and 8 countries from the region.

Arania Enterprises is locally owned and operated by Francis Fono.  It is one of the leading buyers and exporters of cocoa in the Solomon Islands and has been one of the dominant exporters of dried cocoa beans to Asia and Europe since 1990.

Cocoa is the Solomon Islands biggest agricultural export earner generating the country around USD $15 million annually.  There are approximately 20-25,000 small holder farmers and their households involved in the production and more than 50% of producers and processors are women.

Currently there is no value adding and only dry beans are exported. Most cocoa exports go to the bulk processing markets in Asia but a small but significant amount has started going to niche chocolate makers in Australia and New Zealand.

Arania Enterprises expanded to new offices in Auki on Malaita in 2014, in a major step for the business and community in the Solomon Islands.  The expansion reflected the continued success of the family run business concentrated in the bulk market where there are less strict standards on cocoa beans drying methods.

However, Arania was introduced to the ‘boutique’ or ‘niche’ cocoa market.  The niche cocoa market brings greater economic returns depending on the quality of the product. It strictly requires that all beans be dried using a solar method, sun drying.

The company has a strong customer-trader relationship with its cocoa farmers who provide it with the dried beans.

Arania’s goal is to participate actively in the niche market for long-term sustainability and profitability of the organisation. It also seeks to boost the socioeconomic development of its farmers in the rural areas. Arania therefore envisions itself as a champion of the road toward producing top quality beans in the country.

For more information please contact, Ian Furlong, PT&I Trade Development Manager on ian.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

 

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