With new people always moving to Honiara from overseas, I thought I would include an article about the process involved in obtaining a meat licence and provide some general advice based on my personal experiences. The meat licence allows you to bring meat from overseas, back to Solomon Islands.
1. Visit the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock located on Hibiscus Avenue. There are two buildings and the one you want is opposite the Hibiscus Apartments. It is located upstairs (see picture at end of article) and is open 8.30am — 4.30pm. There is also a sign outside advertising the building (see picture beside).
2. Ask for an application form to import ‘animal products’ from the front counter. Complete the form and hand back in to the front counter along with the SBD $100 application fee.
You are allowed to import up to 25 kilos of meat or meat by products for personal consumption. Only beef, lamb and pork products can be brought into Honiara. Chicken products cannot be imported and if you bring them in you run the risk of them being confiscated. Cheeses and dairy products can be imported. I have bought in all types of cheeses and sour cream without anything being confiscated.
3. Allow three working days for the application to be processed. The staff at the front counter will let you know when to come back to collect the permit. Check the dates on the permit to ensure the details and dates are correct.
4. Regarding the airport check-in of stand-alone eskies or styrofoam boxes containing food products:
- Virgin will want to check the packaging so don’t seal the container. They will check the packaging, seal it and then place it into a plastic bag. A label will then be placed on it as containing food products. Virgin also request layers of newspaper in the box to help absorb moisture. Virgin will place the container in a separate part of the plane to standard luggage for transportation.
- Solomon Airlines treat the container as standard luggage so ensure it is sealed before check-in. It is transported with the general luggage.
- If you are not checking in stand-alone containers but are placing items in your personal check-in luggage or taking as carry on; ensure items are a packed correctly to minimise the risk of leakages which can be unpleasant!
5. To streamline the process of quarantine staff at Honiara airport checking what you are importing, have the original documentation (permit and permit payment receipt) ready. Having the original shop receipts (or copies if you want to retain the originals) for the products you are importing/declaring is another tip as quarantine will check this list against what is in the container and will attach to the permit and retain.
If you have friends or family visiting you can arrange for a permit in your name but list them as the person bringing the items in. Email a copy of the permit and receipt to them and meet them at the airport with the originals.