The project, which runs from June 2017 to May 2020, is being led by the FAO, with a total budget of US$508,336.
The FAO is also providing in-kind support to the project alongside the government and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA), backed by Australia and New Zealand.
Support will help the National Public Health Laboratory to achieve ISO 17025 certification, which is required for fish exports to access the EU market.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Dr Tenneth Dalipanda said the Public Health Laboratory is an important component to increase trade opportunities.
“Strengthening the National Public Health Laboratory is an integral component to achieve economic development and employment through increased trade opportunities, Dr Dalipanda said.
Solomon Islands’ national economy is based on agriculture and fisheries, with processed fish among the top three commodities with the highest revenues from international trade.
Maintaining market access to the EU will protect jobs for around 1800 people (60% of them women) and sustain the country’s commercial fish exports of US$45 million.
Fish processers and exporters in the Solomon Islands, including tinned tuna exporters such as SolTuna, will have access to an ISO 17025 certified testing facility. This will reduce delays, increase the competitiveness of fishery products and promote uninterrupted trade flows.
The project will equip the National Public Health Laboratory to carry out microbiological testing to meet international standards by training laboratory staff and putting in place key systems. The laboratory will also be set up to monitor and evaluate contamination risks, promoting local development priorities for communities to access clean water and safe food.
Developing Pacific Island countries interested in applying for funding under the STDF, to help meet standards required for international markets, can submit proposals for the current round until 4 August 2017.
Photo sppplied. Caption: Fisheries officer in Solomon Islands inspecting fish catchment offloaded from a fishing boat.