The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) has stretched its vegetable seeds and farming tools distribution programme under the Covid-19 Livelihood Sector Agriculture Support to the provinces.
The distribution is part of the ongoing agriculture support programme that the ministry is implementing under the Livelihood Sector initiative (Sup-sup garden) to support and encourage households to make gardens around their houses to subsidize food costs as aligned to the national government food security programme to counter the impacts of Covid-19.
MAL Deputy Secretary Technical (DST) and Chairman of the Covid-19 Livelihood Sector Committee (LSC), Michael Ho’ota said so far, total of 12,933 packets of seeds has been distributed to all the provinces.
“Seeds distribution to all provinces cost the government SBD$214,200.00 so far while expenses on tools distribution valued at SBD$877,521.00.”
Provinces that already received their share of seeds and tools distribution under the Covid-19 agriculture support programme include; Guadalcanal, Malaita, Makira, Choiseul, Central Province, Temotu, Isabel and Western province except for Honiara City (Honiara Urban) – their payment for the agriculture support programme is yet to be released by the Ministry of Finance (MoFT).
For Renbel Province, vegetable seeds already sent to Tigoa, Agriculture Extension Office except payment for tools still process at MoFT.
Mr. Ho’ota said many households in the City (Honiara) has benefited from the programme since its initiation in June, adding his committee (LSC) is now extending the programme to support those living in the provinces with the aim to reduce the impacts of the Covid-19 within Honiara and other provinces on Food Security as well as livelihoods.
“A total of 3,603 packets of seeds had already been distributed to 1,201 households in Honiara alone since the start of the agriculture support programme under the Covid-19 LSC agriculture support programme,” he said.
The LSC Chairman said farmers who want to access those vegetable seeds and tools distributed to the provinces are encouraged to check their MAL Provincial Agriculture Extension Offices.
However, he said some vegetable seeds are to be distributed through the Constituency offices. “The reason for this is MAL through its LSC wants to utilise their (constituencies) network since, not all MAL officers can reach all constituencies and farmers can have access from this network as well.
“Distribution through the constituency offices are yet to be done but will be executed in due course,” Mr. Ho’ota said.
He said that the target is to ensure all provinces are covered and supported.
Vegetable seeds and tools were paid under the Covid-19 budget.
Mr. Ho’ota thanked the Australian Government (DFAT) in partnership with UNDP for supporting the programme since its inauguration in June.