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By Charles Kadamana

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 7) - Solomon Islands fish exporter Soltai Company is to conclude its supply and purchase agreement on canned tuna and tuna loins with Tri Marine International Limited next week.

This would allow Soltai to increase the production of tuna loins and produce large size canned tuna products for catering purposes for European market.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two companies last month.

Soltai is the country’s sole canned tuna producer and exporter.

Tri Marine is a major supplier of tuna products to Europe and is steadily increasing its supply to that market.

Under the terms of the agreement, Tri Marine will supply Soltai with necessary equipment to process tuna into catering sized cans for the European market.

Chairman of Soltai Fred Seda said this new approach has given Soltai the best means to tap potential markets on a win, win basis for the two parties.

He said Soltai has been able to penetrate through these difficult markets through commercial arrangements termed as "strategic alliance" with big foreign companies.

He said this new venture will means that the company will employ another 350 new cannery employees.

"Production of our favorite dish, Solomon Blue, will be increased by almost 100 percent, fish meal production will be boosted by the introduction of new fish meal plant and Katsuobushi (smoked tuna) will also be consolidated, " he said.

Seda said the provision of the two vessels is appropriate to meet the growing demand from the increasing processing activities.

Soltai Managing Director Milton Sibisopere earlier said the reintroduction of canned tuna products for Europe and the increase in loin production will see Soltai increasing its processing significantly during 2006.

Sibisopere thanked Tri Marine for demonstrating confidence in Soltai, adding he looks forward to working closely with Tri Marine to ensure the project will be successful.

March 8, 2006

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