Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade

The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) pilot project aims to support commercial ventures and producer groups in becoming export-oriented, market-driven enterprises that will consistently supply overseas markets with competitive agricultural and forestry products. The project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji and started in May 2008.

MARKET WATCH: Teak exports
Monday, 25 July 2011 13:55

The teak farmers of Balasuna in Solomon Islands’ East Guadalcanal Plains will benefit from an export contract between Solomon Islands-based Lagoon Eco Timbers and Kohinoor Traders of India.

Under the agreement, Lagoon Eco Timbers will supply teak thinnings from 10-year old plantations, marking the first time Solomon Islanders will receive payment from the planting of teak.

Thinning is the selective removal of trees to improve the growth rate and health of the remaining trees in a stand.

While older teak has previously been sold to other teak buyers, this will be the first sale of plantation teak.

The agreement, which opens a new chapter in the marketing of teak, was made possible with technical assistance from the European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) Project and the Solomon Islands Ministry of Forestry.

The agreement provides an opportunity to improve existing teak stands and encourages teak farmers to plant more trees.

Ridolo Geve, Manager of Lagoon Eco Timbers, said he was willing to buy thinnings for the first time in order to support the teak reforestation programme and encourage people to participate in the business. He noted that he had signed a contract with farmers to buy their teak, based on their pre-harvest inventory, indicating his faith in the business.

Richard Laity, a forestry consultant engaged by the FACT Project, said that it was not necessary for the buyer to inspect the logs because the grading rules are clear and easily understandable.

The harvesting crew will begin with teak farms in Balasuna and CDC 2.[1] It is expected that teak farmers within a 35 km radius of the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara would initially benefit from the sale.

[1] CDC 2 is the site of an old palm oil plantation and a mill, which were financed by the Commonwealth Development Corporation.

 


The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of SPC.