THE ngali nut tree, which is scientifically known as Canarium nut, is native to the Melanesian states of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
It is one of the highly sought after commodities and one of the highly valued traditional foods in Solomon Islands Western Province.
Visit any island in the province and you will find ngali nut trees grown everywhere because of the deliciousness and nutritiousness of its kernels.
The kernels from the nuts of these trees are a key source of income for many families in Western Province.
Some families own between 10 to 30 trees, which can produce 30 kilogrammes of baked kernels.
In the Western Province Ngali nuts are traditionally collected and cracked for their kernels by women.
Thereafter, the kernels are baked and when cool they are placed in plastic bags or buckets for sale. Fresh kernels are also normally placed in plastics or wrapped in special wrapping leaves for sale.
A bucket of baked kernels is normally sold at $300 to $600, depending on the size of the buckets.
So, it is an essential source of income for rural dwellers and a means of empowering especially women farmers.
On the island of Ranoggah, many villagers treasure their ngali nut trees and they do so because they are a main source of food and income.
However, some of these ngali trees have been partly damaged and others totally destroyed by logging operations.
And because of that, some people are left with no ngali nut trees and resort to stealing nuts from others.
A number of women told Solomon Star Gizo over the weekend that in a certain part of the island, where a logging company operated, people from the logging affected areas are now trespassing into other people’s land to steal nuts for both their own consumption and sale.
One of the women said, “The problem does not only occur in places where logging operates but other areas as well, especially during the weekends when the ngali nut tree owners are in church.
“So, this is a concern for our communities.”
Often when the owners visit their ngali nut trees, most of the fallen nuts have already been collected which they find very disappointing.
An elder, Rence Joshua, also told Solomon Star in a recent interview that the lack of respect for other people’s land and properties is now a big problem.
He said it is important that teachers, parents and community leaders continue to highlight the need for people to have respect for other people and their possessions.
By MOFFAT MAMU