The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) is calling for support from development partners and stakeholders towards the implementation of the Agriculture Sector Growth Strategy and Investment Plan (ASGIP) 2021-2030.
The dialogue was attended both in persons here in Honiara and virtually by many Solomon Islands development partners including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Peoples Republic of China, Canada, the United States, and regional and international bodies like SPC, IFAD, FAO, UNICEF, WFP, the World Bank, the Asia Development Bank, the World Vision. There was also good attendance by national stakeholders from various government ministries including the Prime Minister’s office, private sectors, farmer organisations and NGOs.
The minister in his opening remarks reminds everyone on the statement made by the Prime Minister when he launched the ASGSIP 2021-2030 on the 19th of October this year to “implement the strategy” and so I therefore “called on our development partners to support our dreams for the growth of our agriculture sector in Solomon Islands.”
He stated also that as a global family, what the COVID 19 has taught us is that we need each other to survive together.
“I am reaching out to you our development partners for support again because the global health pandemic is crippling our ability to raise enough revenue to finance our national commitment and this will greatly impact the successful implementation of this 10 years strategy,” Minister Filualea told the dialogue participants.
He said this strategy is set to transform agriculture sector in the country in the next ten years. It is an ambitious plan that was widely consulted and well designed to do just that, transform agriculture sector in the Solomon Islands. It is designed to give greater opportunity to the many Solomon Islanders who live around our beloved country. It is designed to strengthen and build our economic growth and resilience.
The Minister said that he is happy that the 10 years Strategy was launched by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare on the 19th of October 2021 and we are here few weeks from that launching talking together on how to implement it. It is exciting he said!”
Filualea further adds, the timing of this strategy and investment plan is just right as it sets the new phase for agriculture sector growth in the country into the next era, it is just right because it has the detailed foundation for our economic recovery after COVID19 impacts, it is just right because of the interruption caused by the covid19 to our way of doing things which must now change so we can all cope with the impacts on our economies, it is just right because the current issues we face today as a global family calls for a rethink in the way we do things and to be innovative so we can survive together.
Filualea highlighted that it is comforting to note that there was collective agreement and recognition by developed countries of the importance of international collaboration on innovative climate actions and their pledges to support our adaptations needs. This is because climate change is one of the destructive threats to agriculture especially for small islands states like us. We are so vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
“I want to join the rest in appreciating the pledges made by developed countries at the COP26 summit to increase their provision of climate finance to support adaptation in developing countries including us.”
“I am looking forward to see these translated to commitment on the ground to grow our agriculture sector in this development partner working group.”
He said this “dialogue dear friends is timely. We need your support to help us prepare our nation to impacts of climate change that keeps intensifying”.
The Agriculture Minister on behave of the government and people of Solomon Islands thank the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Fund for Agriculture Development for their support to the development of this strategy, and to the many international development partners who had been with us supporting the growth of agriculture sector over the years – filling in the gaps where Solomon Islands funding fell short of meeting all necessary investments.
Meanwhile Permanent Secretary of MAL Ethel Tebengi Frances said during her presentation of the ASGSIP 2021-2030 that while there were many support to the agriculture sector from development partners over the years it is the first time to establish an Agriculture Sector Development Partner Working Group who will work together as funding agents to provide long-term sustainable support for implementation of the ASGSIP 2021-2030, Jointly coordinate donor/partner support for ASGSIP activities and to jointly monitor progress of ASGIP, especially those activities they directly financed and ASGIP priorities.
The strategy identifies strategic opportunities and outlines ambitious pathways to revitalise the sector with the overall goals to increase agriculture sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), increased self-sufficiency through local food supply chains, Decreased levels of stunting in children under 5 years and improve health status of all Solomon Islanders, Increased agricultural productivity and value addition, Increased profitability for all value chain actors and decreased levels of people living below the poverty line.
The Permanent Secretary said that their expectation is that all support to agriculture sector in the country from now on must align to the strategy and this Development Partners Working Group is a conduit to achieve it.
Speaking of the investment plan, the Permanent Secretary said that there are two core intention in this plan and these are the gradual increases in budget support to agriculture sector and a reduction in recurrent budget so more funds are directed to development priorities.
There was overwhelming support from all the development partners who contributed constructively to the dialogue with pledges to support implementation of this strategy.
The second dialogue is being planned for the 7th of December where development partners are expected to indicate to the ministry where and how they can provide support in.