Posted by : Posted on : 24-May-2020

Solomon Islands:  Commercially grown peanuts for export?

Some months ago I wrote saying how I started a productive garden from scratch when overseeing the Santo Prison in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu).

The produce from that garden was sufficient to supply the prisoners with the daily meals and enough produce was left over to sell to the local BP Store to and use the income to raise chickens, pigs and rabbits for food and for extra sales.

One easy crop to grow was peanuts (or groundnuts) and little attention was needed to get high yields.

I share this recollection because it occurs to me that peanuts might easily be grown in the Solomon Islands and the produce exported.

I do know that peanut consumption has grown at a rate exceeding 2.5 % since 2018 and the projected demand is expected to remain high.

China and India are large consumers of peanuts, accounting for more than 36% of global consumption.

The International Trade Centre recently said.

“Groundnuts, a staple food for many developing countries, deserves a closer look as an export commodity. Less than 6% of the world groundnut crop is traded internationally, with export sales averaging close to US$ 1 billion dollars per year. There is, therefore, scope for export growth in groundnuts.

“Investing in groundnuts is a sustainable way to address the rising needs for both food and foreign exchange. Today's exporters face two major challenges: ensuring food safety by preventing and controlling mycotoxin contamination of products and adapting groundnut supplies to demand for varieties best suited to specific end-uses.

“About 48% of the world output is for food uses and 52% is crushed, producing groundnut oil and cake. Consumption patterns vary widely from country to country. In the United States, a fifth of the crop is exported; 10% is crushed for oil; nearly 60% is directly used in the manufacture of food products. Argentina and South Africa, typical export-oriented groundnut producers, export 70-75% of their crop either as edible or oil nuts, or as processed groundnut oil and cake. In Viet Nam, groundnuts are cultivated in order to improve soil fertility, to break rice monoculture and to provide additional income to farmers through exports.”

In addition to noni fruit, cassava, taro, pineapples, kava, ginger, vanilla, cut flowers (orchids), tomatoes, salad crops, coconuts and banana (chips), all potential exports, why not consider peanuts grown commercially for export earnings?

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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