Cocoa Production in the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands cocoa production by province for 2010-2020 is shown in Figure 1.1

Provincial production of Cocoa trends mirror trends in total production in the Solomon Islands, rising to a peak in 2011 before falling sharply; and while data for 2017 is not presently available, however provincial production is expected to increase consistent with the trend shown below.  

Fig 1.1 - Solomon Islands Cocoa Production 2010 - 2020 and Production shares by each province.
Source: CEMA Stats Division 2021 

In addition, figure 1.2 below shows the Solomon Islands export by volume and value. Cocoa production peaked in the Solomon Islands between 2010-2011 and has plateaued since.

Figure 1.2 - Solomon Islands Cocoa Exported by Volume & Value 2010-2020
Source: CEMA Stats Division 2021

Solomon Islands Cocoa Farms

In the Solomon Islands, cocoa farms are usually referred to as ‘blocks’ and are usually about 1 hectare (ha) in size. There are a few larger blocks that could be considered a ‘farm’ and are around 10ha. There are no commercial scale cocoa plantations in the Solomon Islands.

Most cocoa blocks are tended by families and managed on an informal basis which contrasts to the commercial farms in West Africa or South America. For this reason many of the industry issues that trouble the cocoa industries in these regions are not a problem in the Solomon Islands, such as slave labour or deforestation. Cocoa is usually planted under bananas, coconut or other trees and form part of the forest system.

It is difficult to buy fertilisers and chemicals outside of the capital Honiara, and for this reason most cocoa blocks in the country are organic. The fact that each cocoa block is owned by a family also makes it difficult to establish formal organic certification since to make this cost effective, it requires a large number of farmers to organise themselves in a group, which then provides administrative challenges.

Having said this, there is certified cocoa available for export current with one major exporter of both cocoa and coconut products – you can find more about Kokonut Pasifik here -

Kastom Gaden is also leading the way in more traditional methods of organic certification called Participatory Guarantee System (PGS). This is a peer review mechanism of organic certification that involves the whole community. You can find out more about this here -

Solomon Islands Cocoa Varieties

The Solomon Islands has a unique blend of genetic varieties and most cocoa blocks are a combination of many generations of different genetics.

The most common variety is Amelonado, which is derived from Forastero. Forastero historically wasn’t considered a fine flavour cocoa, however grown in the Pacific under completely different growing conditions to South and Central America, this variety has delighted chocolate makers with its unique and interesting flavour profile.

Due to replanting schemes in the 70’s and 80’s in the Solomon Islands, there is also significant production of Trinitario and Criollo varieties, which are well renowned for their ‘fine flavour’ genetics.