BY CHRIS ALEX
GRADUATING with a diploma certificate in theology studies was an academic success for Don Kelly, who later turned businessman and owner of Jedom Organic Foods Limited in 2016.
Don from the province of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands had vast knowledge and experience in the preparing, processing, valuing, and marketing of local food crops– a passion developed in his early youth as a local food crops vendor and later in his career when working at the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education in Honiara.
“Before I established my family-owned business, I initially worked as a missionary for three years (2001-2003) after I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theology at the Bishop Patterson Theological College (BPTC) at Kohimarama, West Guadalcanal in the early 2000s.
“Later I took up a job as a manager of the student’s welfare services division at the Solomon Island College of High Education (SICHE) in 2003,” Don, 59, told ENVIRONMENT MEDIA.
Jedom Organic Foods Limited is a small to medium-scale business enterprise currently located at Tangarare on West Guadalcanal. It also employs exactly 10 locals from the rural setting.
Whilst overseeing the welfare of students accommodated at SICHE, it also provided Don with the vital importance of valuing students’ diets in terms of preparing, processing, and catering to healthy food for students studying at the College.
Don told ENVIRONMENT MEDIA that over the past years, he noticed a problem faced by the majority of root crop market vendors from Guadalcanal – a problem that needs an innovative solution.
“The core and the sad problem I observed over the past years is that sometimes rural vendors go into marketplaces with decomposed produces (regardless of quantity) which does severely affected their daily earnings or profits.
“The introduction of value adding in the Solomon Islands today is a milestone and a new beginning to restructure vendor’s position on how to process and market quality local food products (whether raw or processed) to consumers,” he said.
Don said Jedom Organic Foods Limited initially started in 2016 as a small family-owned business cottage intending to improve local food commodities for family consumption and commercial use.
“I started Jedom Organic Foods Limited in 2016 as a family-owned business in a little cottage house and later into a small factory in 2018.
“Now the business has grown from a small to medium business enterprise, it allows the factory to increase the number of raw food crops production and processing of into quality standard products.
“We have produced value-added packeted products like chips and breakfast cereals.
“The banana and cassava chips are made from a variety of combined ingredients like Pineapple, Ngali Nut, Alite, Garivera (Chinese taro), and Barrington (Cut nut).
“Whilst the breakfast cereals are made from the combination of ripe pineapple, ripe pawpaw, and ripe banana,” Don said.