Between 27 and 31 May 2019, Strongim Bisnis helped 17—mostly female—trainers from Solomon Islands Rural Training Centres and non-government organisations learn how to make drinking chocolate, face cream, tea and nibs from Solomon Islands cocoa beans. The week-long training was taught by Oongah Browne and Floris Niu from Koko Samoa, a Samoan cocoa and drinking chocolate organisation.
The objective of the training was to give Solomon Islands trainers new skills to process cocoa so they could then teach their own agriculture, tourism or hospitality students in the provinces how to produce drinking chocolate and cocao nibs using household equipment such as wooden mortars, rolling pins, a pan and Ziplock bags.
The training is the result of a report, which was supported by the Australian government and finalised earlier this year, and found that the production and sales of drinking chocolate and cocoa nibs made at the household level may offer viable income opportunities for Solomon Islands households. Australian High Commission Second Secretary Economic, Cass Grant said that “as a close partner of the Solomon Islands, the Australian government is committed to increasing jobs and growing the national economy. This training is important because is not only offers women and youth a new opportunity to generate income, but also a new way for products to be made from the existing cocoa industry that may increase the sector’s overall value.”