THE Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET), Hon. Jeremiah Manele handed over a new tractor and plough machine to members of the Ghaobata Farmers Association last week.
Funding for the new tractor and accessory was made possible through the Solomon Islands Enhanced Integrated Framework’s (EIF) Enhanced Capacity for Agriculture Trade (ECAT) project under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.
The tractor was delivered to members of the Association at Totoba village, North Guadalcanal last Friday.
The Tractor and plough machine costs around SBD$296,000-00.
In his remarks to hand over the equipment, Minister Manele said the Ministry recognised the contribution of Ghaobata’s farmers to the country through the Agriculture Sector and the challenges faced with regards to manual labour and the cost in hiring of tractors from others.
“It is also evident as well that many hectares of flat land is not cultivated, these challenges we know has hindered the expansion of your farms and your produce in many ways.
Hon. Manele believed that with the support of the tractor and tiller machine, the farmers will be able to supply more of their products to the local market as well as venture into exporting in the future.
“The handing over of this tractor shows my government’s commitment through the ECAT project to assist farmers boost their production to meet the demands not only in the country but beyond our shores,” He added.
In receiving the Tractor, Chairman of GFA, James Tiva acknowledged the hard work by the EIF team of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade for facilitating this project.
Mr. Tiva said this is the first time ever for the Association to have received such an assistance in machinery to boost production for farmers within the area.
He said they have been identified to supply taro for the 2023 Pacific games and this support will greatly assist in reaching their target supply.
He said GFA is a network of farmers from the Ghaobata District on North Guadalcanal. In terms of land, Mr Tiva said there is more land available to plant crops but the challenge is support through the provision of the right machineries that could increase production.
He looks forward to collaborate with ECAT through the EIF within MFAET and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock for the export of cassava and Taro to overseas markets in the future.
Mr. Tiva said the Association is honoured to have the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade to deliver the new tractor and plough machine to members of GFA.
More than 200 farmers have benefited under the ECAT program since it started in 2019. These benefits range from EIF funded trainings, equipment’s, grant funding and a soon to be opened Auki Pack house.
All the assistance given by the ECAT project to Ghaobata Farmers Association and other companies would not have been made possible without the funding from the world trade Organization (WTO) through the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).
The EIF is a multi-donor program, which supports Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to be more active players in the global trading system by helping them tackle supply-side constraints to trade.
—MFAET PRESS RELEASE