Better transport for improved livelihoods

Participants at the Solomon Islands Transport Symposium at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara.

Limited transportation connectivity is a recurring constraint to market access for Solomon Islands’ exports.

While transportation is integral to the successful functioning of any agricultural sector, the plight of the sector is also exacerbated by poor infrastructure and local geographical factors.

To address connectivity issues and improve market access for Solomon Islands’ agricultural exports, the Australian and New Zealand-supported Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program or PHAMA Plus has organised a two-day Transport Symposium in Honiara this week.

The issue of limited transportation connectivity in Solomon Islands has been highlighted in various public-private platforms, including Industry Working Group and the Market Access Working Group meetings.

PHAMA Plus Senior National Coordinator in Solomon Islands, Samantha Maeke, says the objective of the Transport Symposium is to understand constraints and identify potential actions to improve connectivity and agricultural market access.

“An effective transportation system supports rural economies, reducing the prices producers pay for inputs, raising the value of their crops, and greatly increasing their access to markets,” Maeke said. 

“The economies of rural areas are intertwined and as agriculture thrives, so does its supporting community.  Providing effective transportation for a rural region stimulates the farms and businesses served and improves the standard of living.”

The Symposium brings together stakeholders across the rural supply chains including farmers, buyers and aggregators, processors, exporters, transport providers, international development programs and institutions, government and donors. The overall goal is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the agricultural export market access and management systems – including the use of recognised quality and risk management systems.

With the theme “Improving Connectivity and Market Access”, the Symposium will be held at the Heritage Park Hotel on 30-31 May 2019. International and local experts in the area of agricultural production will engage in panel discussions and presentations during the two days. A list of workable outcomes including short and long term actions will be developed after the Symposium that will map the way forward for stakeholders.

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