Kava farmers in Malaita & loans - Solomon Star News

Kava farmers in Malaita & loans

02 March 2021

Dear Editor - I read the letter to the Editor of the Solomon Times Online last week written by someone named Sammy Junior Cena from West Kwara’ae.

He wrote, and I quote.

“In a society where a large percentage of youths want to go entrepreneurial, that is, striving to enter in entrepreneurship perhaps specifically want to start a business that will sustain them in a world full of needs and responsibilities. But then they get stuck because of the financial crisis.

“However, Malaita province is now in the mood of supporting youths to build on farming and especially planting kava. 

“So I am very proud to see Malaita youths take it seriously to cultivate kava. As they believe in the betterment of the province is through farming. 

“Not for Malaita itself can do this, it’s on the shoulder of our nation the Solomon Islands to help people to engage in farming in order to improve and develop societies.

“Lastly, thanks to Mr. Phillip Maesubua the Malaita youth president for working together with the provincial government to support Malaita people.

"Continue with the work and God will do the rest.” End of quote. 

In the USA the United States Department of Agriculture gives what is termed Direct Farm Operating Microloans to young, potential farmers according to several pre-conditions being met. 

These are the requirements; 

  • Microloan applicants still need to have some farm experience; however, small business experience and agricultural internships and apprenticeship programs, even those that are self-guided, count toward meeting the farm management requirement.
  • Microloan applicants with minimal farm experience also have the option of working with a mentor for guidance during the first production and marketing cycle.
  • It is not necessary for a Microloan applicant to have produced farm income to meet the requirements for managerial experience.

The United States Government I understand has promised substantial development aid to Malaita and it occurred to me whether the Malaita Provincial Government could consider asking the US Government to help young people in Malaita wanting to go into kava farming to become self-reliant and to sustain themselves and their families.

I feel sure the broad terms of the USDA could be met, especially if young farmers could work with an experienced mentor involved in successful kava production and marketing.

Perhaps, Mr. Philip Maesubua the Malaita Youth President might wish to follow up on the possibility of obtaining microloans with the US Embassy in Port Moresby, or with the US Consular officer based in Honiara.


Frank Short