The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) and the Malaita Provincial Government (MPG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for agriculture cooperation between the Ministry and the Province.
The MoU was signed by MAL Minister Hon. Senley Levi Filualea and MPG Premier Daniel Suidani in Auki on 3rd November 2020.
Hon. Minister Filualea in his official remarks emphasized that the event is of great significance as it captured well the need for a collaborative work in addressing challenges that often faced by the province in large scale agriculture development.
He added that the MoU is based on mutual interest and shared responsibilities with the purpose to enhance Food Security and Livelihood’s for the people of Malaita and Solomon Islands.
The MoU outlined areas of mutual interests, obligations of each party (MAL & MPG) and joint obligations of the parties that would be followed in the development of agriculture and livestock on Malaita Province.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock is operating a pig breeding farm and crop bulking site at Adaliua, Central Kwara’ae and has in its key priority the revitalisation of Land purchase Cooperatives (LPCs) in Malaita as they are still active compared to majority of LPCs around the country that are now dormant.
“The ministry (MAL) is looking forward to working collaboratively with MPG to revitalise these LPCs.
“My ministry has been able to secure support from Canada Government to support the revitalisation of LPCs and currently a team is on the ground now to carry out a survey on agriculture related Cooperatives to support the design of revitalisation interventions.
“Malaita LPCs are in the priority list for revival, because despite not being supported, the members of the Cooperatives are still actively involved in farming” Hon. Minister Filualea said.
Welcoming the shared commitment under the Malaita Provincial Government, Premier Daniel Suidani affirmed that the event marked a new journey in the development of Agriculture and livestock in Malaita Province and certainly in Solomon Islands.
“This is a new journey based on mutual cooperation and shared responsibilities. Especially in addressing multiple challenges that often confront us in our large scale Agriculture endeavours. Mindful of those challenges, we must take stock of our past disappointments and thereupon forge a new outlook for our agricultural sector,” Premier Suidani said.
Mr. Suidani believes that the engagement and partnership between MAL and MPG through the MoU will pave the way forward to ensuring that the Agriculture and livestock sector of the province play an important role in the economic development of the province and SI at large.
“Agriculture as we know is the pillar through which our society survives. Therefore it is an industry that we can all participate in than any other sector. However, as our society expanded and grows in population we need to expand and grow the way we see agriculture as well for better economic status and food security. That for me is the exact thing we are doing today. Finding new ways and approaches to work collaboratively in the agriculture sector to achieve better results,” Premier Suidani emphasized.
Deputy Secretary Technical of MAL, Michael Ho’ota who accompanied the Hon. Minister while congratulating MPG for the fine achievement, said the ministry is looking forward to further collaborations with the Malaita Provincial government in implementing the national as well as provincial agriculture development programmes.
He also used the opportunity and thanked the National Government and the MPG for their wisdom in seeing fit to come under a common understanding and partnership in developing the agriculture sector within the province to new heights.
The Permanent Secretary of MAL, Ethel Tebengi Frances who was unable to join the team for the signing due to official commitment said that she believe that securing and ensuring land are available for development, and problem free, is the role of Provincial Governments.
Ms. Frances pleased that this MoU paves the way for this to happen in Malaita Province adding she want to see MAL sealing similar agreement with other provinces but is hesitant to do so as other MOU with other Provinces have not materialised fully due to lack of funding.
“The Ministry has existing MoU with other provinces like Isabel Province where a total of 300 plus hectares of land was allocated for agriculture research work. Challenge has been securing funds to develop this land so MAL has been slowly developing it as resources permits” PS Frances said.
However, the Permanent Secretary said that she aim to aggressively seek funding externally so more agriculture development can happen in our provinces.
“With Malaita, we took over the former Taiwan Operated pig breeding site and crop bulking at Adaliua, Central Kwara’ae so we need Malaita province to support and oversee land issues should there be any, and off course, the LPC revitalization program with Malaita LPCs, so these necessitated the signing of this MOU,” PS Frances said.
The signed MoU also formalises and further strengthens a long-standing traditional partnership that has existed for over a decade, between MAL and MPG individually or collectively contributing to numerous agricultural development initiatives in the province.
Media Release from Information and Media Unit, MAL