presentation of the progress and achievements of the Solomon Islands Rural
Development Program, RDP will be made today. This
will be held at the World Bank office in Honiara.
RDP is a program which was aimed at improving small scale infrastructure, social and agricultural services, and rural business development in rural Solomon Islands.
Solomon Islands, after a period of civil conflict known as the ‘tensions’, from 1998 to 2003, has begun to move from post-conflict reconstruction to longer-term development.
However, raising rural living standards remains a formidable challenge. Roughly 85 percent of Solomon Islanders live in rural areas, relying on subsistence, smallholder agriculture.
Agriculture remains the backbone of the rural economy. As such, the Rural Development Program (RDP) is designed to respond to priorities identified by communities to improve the delivery of quality agricultural extension services, and social infrastructure and services.
About the program
The RDP has been prepared as the first phase of a long term program to support the Solomon Islands national rural development goals.
With funding from AusAID, the European Union, IFAD, and the World Bank, the RDP, which is implemented by the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in collaboration with the Provincial Governments, aims to raise the living standards of rural households.
The RDP has three main components.
Local infrastructure and service delivery. The RDP has established transparent and inclusive community driven mechanisms to identify, prioritise, select and implement small-scale infrastructure.
Grants are provided each year for the construction or rehabilitation of essential infrastructure such as health posts, teachers' accommodation, water supply, foot bridges, etc.
The grants are managed and projects implemented by village-level committees. Component 1, through its community driven approach, also serves to assist in the development of financial management skills and project organisation within the village-level committees that implement individual RDP projects.
To date over 200 projects for rural community infrastructure and services have been approved and communities are at various stages of preparation, implementation and completions.
Improved agriculture services. Increasing the capacity of existing agricultural institutions to provide essential agricultural support services, such as extension services, veterinary services and quarantine.
The program aims to revitalise the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock which was badly affected by the years of unrest during the tensions and also seeks to strengthen its collaboration with other agricultural service providers such as NGOs and the private sector.
This component also provides essential equipment and training to the Ministry to further build on its ability to provide services.
The training and services provided are driven by demand at the local level, with men and women farmers prioritising their own needs. 231 agriculture activities and training have benefited about 7,000 farmers in six provinces.
Rural business development. This component aims to facilitate the growth and development of rural enterprises by providing supplementary equity financing and assorted training and technical assistance to rural businesses.
The Solomon Islands Government is committed to improving outreach of financial services to rural areas.
contributes to broader government initiatives of expanding access to finance
and stimulating private sector investment in rural areas. 35 rural business
have benefited from this component to date.
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