Forest Minister graces local farmers - Solomon Star News

Forest Minister graces local farmers

11 July 2019

Ministry of Forestry and Research Minister Ishmael Avui’s recent visit to Smallholder Teak Out-growers at certain areas in Western province gave hope to out growers nationwide for the support of the scheme.

The Smallholder Teak Out-growers Program was initiated under the Ministry of Forestry and Research but with a recent piloted research with Australian Centre for International Agriculture and Research (ACIAR), they can see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.

ACIAR Project has been assisting the Smallholder Teak outgrowers on milling their teak trees, drying them and then exporting them to niche markets at New Zealand.

The project taught the teak farmers on the expectations of the buyers and how they will mill and prepare the sawn timber before exporting to New Zealand and Australian markets.

Under the same collaboration, Solomon Teak wood properties have been analysed and tested in Australia for its strength and quality including its other features.

Minister Avui said the research approach is simple and is efficient for our rural teak tree out-growers.

Not only teak tree but the research has also been finding ways to tapping into local commercial trees in this initiative, he said.

“We are hopeful and optimistic with the trials and samples already send, plus the positive feedbacks from the research methods done – out-growers can maximise their benefits through the model that ACIAR is showcasing with Teak farmers.”

ACIAR Project Solomon Islands Program Coordinator Dr Tim Blumfield echoed similar statement that once the real outcome is received from the trial export to niche markets in New Zealand and Australia, we can be certain of a positive way forward for our local smallholder out-growers.

He said one of the advantages noted during the research is the fast growth rate of trees here compared to other places and regions in the world.

Teak tree for instance, here in Solomon Islands is one of the best amongst many in the world in growth rate and its growing life span is one of the fastest, he said.

He adds the collaboration work the Ministry of Forestry and Research has with ACIAR through such initiative for the rural smallholder teak out-growers is important as a high value plantation resource is progressively established.

“The milling technique and the simple band mill ACIAR Project currently being introduced is not that expensive and is cost effective, whereby the rural tree farmers can afford to purchase, operate and manage in a sustainable manner to support and improve rural livelihoods.”

Mr Blumfield added acknowledging Minister Avui, the Ministry’s PS and an official for their visit; especially to visit teak tree farmers at their woodlots to see first-hand what has been done under the collaboration research work with ACIAR.

- MoFR Press