Dear Editor – I am encouraged by the training initiative for young farmers from East Guadalcanal and the Malaita Province to give incentive to produce chocolate from locally grown cocoa beans.
The fact that there is a possibility of the Solomon Islands manufacturing its own chocolate adds to my growing belief that there is much being done to promote self-sufficiency and to produce products for the home market and possible export.
I noted similar developments in the bee keeping sector and in the cultivation of organic food production.
Improvements in banana farming was another initiative that caught my attention.
These grass roots developments need further encouragement and support to aid livelihoods and to give a boost to the economy.
The economic free zones to be incorporated as part of the DCCG’s overall plans will, I’m hopeful, bring about investment and the transfer of development ideas and technology to augment what is now the ground swell of the grass roots initiatives so often being highlighted in the media.
Yesterday, the US President, Barack Obama addressed the African Union in the Ethiopian capital and he referred to the need for trade not aid for Africa. His message was much in keeping with Prime Minister Sogavare’s often repeated calls for the Solomon Islands to be lifted from the status of a much dependent aid nation.
I look forward to the day when trade and not aid will become a reality at home but everyone must fully participate by taking the initial initiatives now by becoming more evident in making better use of natural resources, raising food production, introducing fresh ideas and making marketing decisions to get the best possible opportunities for the country.
I wish all success.