Local farmers in the country have been provided with a new small-scale mechanisation workshop, inaugurated by the Solomon Islands Government Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock (MAL) and the European Union (EU) in Honiara on Monday.
The workshop is funded by the EU under the project “enhancing productivity of land & labour through small-scale mechanization for subsistence farmers in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands “.
The ceremony was attended by MAL Minister Dudley Kopu, MAL Permanent Secretary Jimmy Saelea, EU Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Pavlos Evangelidis, representatives from the Papua New Guinea (PNG) National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), government officials and local farmers.
Minister Kopu in his address acknowledged the EU’s support to this important project.
“The new facility is set to boost production for local farmers axing the very high price of processing. It was observed that local farmers in Solomon Islands had difficulties with machines and through valuable funding support from the EU, MAL has worked closely with NARI to provide affordable and adaptable machines fitting for local settings. The Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government through MAL values this project as it reflects DCC’s fundamental policies on food security.
Mr. Kopu also appreciated the EU’s continued support beyond the agricultural sector, including on capacity building, climate change, and rural development.
EU Chargé d’Affaires a.i. to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Pavlos Evangelidis said “these facilities have been the fruits of a good Pacific collaboration, between MAL and NARI, supported by the EU.”
He said this is an important project, directly targeting 60 farmers’ households in SI and PNG, including 20 in Isabel and Western, and providing benefits to many more across both countries. The project is demand-driven and based on simple solutions tailored to the needs in the communities, which is key for sustainability.
The facility is equipped with 3 machines, solar rice dryer, rice mill, and peanut sheller which will hopefully be used effectively and will contribute to the rural development of this country.
Starting with Isabel and Western Province and gradually spreading across the country.