Varivao Holdings Limited, a coffee exporter from the Solomon Islands, has significantly improved its production level with support from the European Union (EU) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community through the EU-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project.
Varivao Holdings managed to double its coffee production in 2012 when IACT first stepped in to provide the company with technical and business development assistance.
As a local enterprise from the Hograno district of Ysabel province, Varivao Holdings is one of the 44 enterprises currently being supported in the Pacific under the IACT project.
‘We expect to produce around 5500 kg of coffee this year. By 2015, we are forecasting an increase to about 10,000 kg valued at around FJD 500, 000 in sales,’ said Dudley Longamei, General Manager of Varivao Holdings.
It was a completely different story a couple of years back, says Longamei, when Varivao Holdings struggled to process coffee for the export market; all that has changed with IACT’s intervention.
He says that support from the IACT project has contributed immensely to the success of his company.
To help Varivao Holdings process quality coffee, IACT has provided machines worth around SBD 200, 000. This includes a coffee huller, roasting machine and grinder.
‘The assistance provided by IACT has been a real boost. Through IACT, we have been able to take our coffee production and processing to the next level in order to better serve our markets,’ said Longamei.
‘The choice made by IACT to support and partner with Varivao Holdings is an example of a winning combination that is contributing to the growth of the coffee industry in the Solomon Islands,’ he added.
Varivao Holdings has about 32 field workers, 3 office staff and 6 factory workers. The company has even employed its own agriculture staff to carry out trainings for farmers and conduct quality assurance checks.
Apart from coffee, Varivao Holdings is also manufacturing other products, such as dried kava chips and roots, cured vanilla beans and peanuts.