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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 5) – A visiting businessman is conducting experiments on Solomon Island "slippery cabbage," a popular vegetable he says could find export markets in Japan and Korea.

Frank Lee, managing director of Solomon Morinda, said he came up with the idea after the market for noni juice slowed down. Mr Lee’s company also buys noni fruits.

"The market for noni juice had slowed down so I have to reduce my purchasing from local suppliers," he said. "This however did not go down well with my regular suppliers. Therefore, I decided to explore the possibility of exporting slippery cabbage because I know a lot of locals grow them."

Since he arrived in Honiara last week, Mr Lee bought 60 bunches of slippery cabbages from the market which, he boiled and dried. On Tuesday, he left for Australia with the dried cabbages which he would be conducting experiment for their nutritional contents and to see whether or not they are grown organically.

"If they use chemicals or insecticides on these cabbages then I will not be able to conduct my experiment because already they are contaminated," he said. "In fact, what I’m looking for are slippery cabbages that are grown without the use of chemicals."

He stated that from his findings in Australia he would then take the cabbages to Korea and Japan to look for possible buyers.

"If my buyers want it then for sure there is a possibility for me buying slippery cabbages from locals starting in June or July this year. I will be looking at buying 10,000 bunches of slippery organic cabbages when I return," Mr Lee said.

He stated that the dried cabbages could be reheated and eaten.

However, he warned that those who intended to sell slippery cabbages to him should ensure their cabbages are not used with insecticides but grown organically.

May 6, 2005

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