Up to 300 people witnessed the historic event.
The project was made possible through the hard work of Everlyn Safi, a local of the area who wanted to see her people venture into economic activities.
The initiative was launched in agreement with three main chiefs of the area – Jimmy Lalofi, Sale Nonorua and Alick Naoniau.
Mrs Safi said it took her three years, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, to see the project got off the ground.
She said work on the project actually started in March last year with the planting of coffee trees covering more than three hectares of land.
“I am happy and proud to see this project got off the ground. This is an initiative that will contribute to the country’s economy,” Mrs Safi said.
“I am also proud of the people of Lo’onawadu village who work really hard and in cooperation with their leaders in this project,” she added.
Mrs Safi said her application for funds for the project was submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture in 2016, but was not approved until 2017.
“Funding was not released until early 2018, allowing us to start planting in March of that year.
“I paid 1,300 seeds from the local coffee farmer Robert Sam of Guadalcanal;$2 per seed which costs me $2,000 and later received 2,500 coffee seedlings from the ministry.”
Mrs Safi further stated that she also has a small association which called “Waneafoa Coffee Farmers Association”.
“Waneafoa simply means an orphan child with no one to assist him or her.”
Mrs Safi said the coffee project is the first of its kind in east Kwaio and the people there were happy and proud to be involved.
She encourages rural farmers, in particular women, to pursue projects that will empower and engage them in economic activities.
“All rural women should have good decision making and always work hard for the good of the community and the nation as a whole,” Mrs Safi said.
By MARY I. BURUMAEA