Developing the Noni industry and others like kava and cassava is one of the key policy priority of the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) therefore the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) remains committed to it.
Permanent Secretary of MAL, Mrs. Ethel Tebengi Frances said, it is very important that we identify and develop new industries because relying on only a few export commodities is very risky.
“For the past 40 years it has always been coconut, cocoa and palm oil when talking about agricultural export commodities. It is time to look at other commodities because we need to caution our economy against the unknown.
“One of the key lesson we must learn from the Covid-19 pandemic is that the future is so uncertain so let’s caution ourselves against the unknown by developing new industries,” PS Mrs. Frances said.
Mrs. Frances said that the recent incursion of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) and the existing cocoa black pod disease poses so much threat to our three main export commodities, therefore, besides efforts currently ongoing to manage their spread it is also important to develop other commodities as mitigation measures.
“Unlike the cocoa tree that was introduced to Solomon Islands many years back, the Noni tree is a native tree that grows anywhere so we are blessed that there is demand for it. We do not have to look elsewhere for planting materials when it is right there at our doorsteps.
“The recent 1.2 million dollars injected by the government, through its Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) initiative to restore the operation of the Noni local business registered as ‘Solomon Noni Corporation’ shows how serious DCGA’s commitment towards this industry.”
The Permanent Secretary added that Noni is a new industry and like other new things we need to learn how to do it right. As it is at its initiation stage there are many things we do not know from farm to processing and marketing. That is why it is clearly define in the DCGA policy statement as “developing the Noni industry”.
“The DCGA is committed to develop this new industry therefore is one of our (MAL) key agenda as the government agency overseeing agriculture sector.
“Supporting initiative which provide our people opportunities to better themselves is a national obligation therefore worth investing in,” Mrs. Frances said.