10 Sep 2013

Farmers primed to grow coffee in Solomon Islands

2:45 pm on 10 September 2013

The backers of a major coffee producer in Solomon Islands' Isabel province says there are many farmers waiting to be able to start growing the crop.

Varivao Holdings is among 44 Pacific enterprises receiving support under the Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade project and one of only three in Solomon Islands.

The export production officer of the project, which is funded by the European Union, says a government production programme with Varivao Holdings is yet to get properly underway.

Sanford Smith says when the project first visited Kolomola there were about 500 farmers planting coffee.

"And this was supposed to go up to at least 1500 by 2013 and they're still working on that trying to produce the seeds. There's a high demand for coffee seed but they're just not able to meet the demand at the moment."

Sanford Smith says the social impact of supporting Varivao Holdings was one of the reasons its application for assistance was approved.