GOVERNMENT through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) on Friday officially launched the Rural Development Program (RDP) component 2 in Honiara.
The official launching was attended by farmers, stakeholders, non-government organisations (NGO) and private sector at the Mendana Hotel.
The objectives of RDP component 2 establishing partnership and support to enhance rural livelihoods through diversification and commercialization of agriculture production.
It’s a five years program to be implemented in all nine provinces.
The program is funded by International Farm for Agriculture Development (IFAD), European Union (EU), Department of Foreign Affaires and Trade of Australian Government, Solomon Island Government (SIG) and managed by the World Bank.
Speaking during the officially launching Minister Augustine Auga said, this component will address the country’s national objective of poverty reduction and inclusive economic growth whilst improving the enabling environment for rural based agriculture economic activity.
“RPD component 2 will assist farming households to engage in productive partnership with commercial enterprises, building the capacity of MAL to deliver its core functions of regulations, research and sector coordination and restoring the productive assets of households critically affected by the April 2014 flash floods,” Mr Auga said.
“Interms of agriculture partnership and support, the above objectives will benefit producers and actors along the agriculture product value of chains as group.
“This means that assistance and support we receive from this program is going to be channelled through that contributes in one way or another along the value of chain of any community. It must fully benefit our rural farmers to improve their rural livelihoods and the economy of this country,” Minister Augu explains.
He said, this second component is in line with DCC governments policy objective of development of commercial agriculture, and development and marketing of high value cash crops.
He said the government primary objective is to achieve broad based economic development by empowering locals to be engaged in productive activities and employment opportunities. ‘’This program is develop to move many agriculture industries forward and I believe Solomon Islands agriculture sector will grow and benefit from this initiative.
“We must work as partners and also use the government machineries to give leverage to the agriculture producers and agribusiness stakeholders, especially the private sector, government bodies, NGOs and other institutions to fulfil these objectives.
“Farmers in the rural areas are the major producers of agriculture primary products and materials and it’s only fitting that we work in partnership with them and support them to not only produce more, but to diversify, commercialise and also to produce the best quality products that we can export to other countries in order the attract premium locally and overseas,” Mr Auga said.
He added said, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock alone cannot do everything within the sector.
“It must have the support of other stakeholders in the sector, therefore the agriculture partnership and support program is designed to work in partnership with stakeholders of agriculture business and financial institutions.
“Concept of supporting productive alliance between private sector agribusiness and smallholder farmers should facilitate increased productions and marketing of agriculture commodities.
“Such partnership involves a package embracing provision of finance along with business development services, market linkages, capacity building and policy institutional supports. Partnerships are intended to facilitate productive alliances between agribusiness, farmers and other value chain actors and must engage and assist them to improve their productivity and connection to markets.
“Agriculture partnership and support program cover actors in the agriculture productions side and processing and manufacturing, marketing and other service that supports agribusiness.
“It also ensures that smallholders farm produce support service from other partnerships available to them. All actors that involve in agribusiness in the country to remain committed and willing to participant as partners in this endeavour,” Mr Auga said in his speech.
By DENVER NEWTER