The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) last Friday 5th February officially handed over a brand new backhoe to Sape Farm management to provide greater opportunity for Sape farm to maximise on productivity.
Purchased from George Wu Company, the backhoe cost MAL $618,000.00. The money ($618 K) is from the savings Sape farm management made from the 2.7 million funding support agreement MAL and Sape farm signed in 2020.
The backhoe will assist the farm with the establishment of proper drainage system to avoid flood waters from coming into the farm during rainy seasons, assist with the removal of large boulders from the farm as well as assist with the establishment of a farm road within the farm.
Speaking on behalf of the Permanent Secretary at the handover ceremony, Deputy Secretary Technical of MAL, Michael Ho’ota said this is the first time that MAL has procured such a machine for a farming entity, in this case for Sape farm.
Mr. Ho’ota said agriculture is a risky undertaking (business) so we have to use the available tools and technologies currently at our disposal to ensure that we have a viable and sustainable farming business.
He said MAL is pleased with Sape farm commitment adding the government through MAL will explore opportunities and look at how it can improve (this) cassava industry to maximize production and benefits to farmers and the government.
The Deputy Secretary Technical also emphasized the importance of farm mechanisation in the agricultural sector to make the works of farmers easier. Thus increasing production at the farm level.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) country representative, Jimi Saelea said FAO is happy to work together with MAL toward the growth of agriculture sector in the country to improve livelihoods and ensure food security.
“FAO is mandated to address various issues including food insecurity, sustainable livelihoods, nutrition, health, forestry, fisheries, as well as climate change.
“FAO is pleased to be part of the handing over ceremony today. FAO’s funding support provided through its programmes with MAL to address issues such as food security and livelihoods are meant to assist beneficiaries such as Dr. Paul Bosawai Popora improve their farming activities. And what Dr. Paul Bosawai Popora is doing here is what the government through MAL must look serious at addressing commercial agriculture for both the domestic and export market, going forward to improve the country’s economy, enhance livelihoods and ensure food security” Mr. Saelea said.
Mr. Saelea further said that it is encouraging to see MAL donating the backhoe that will help the farm with the establishment of proper drainage system as well as assist with the establishment of an all-weather farm road system within the farm, and also provide greater opportunity for the farm to maximise on productivity.
Receiving the gift, Managing Director of Sape farm Dr. Paul Bosawai Popora expressed gratitude to the national government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) and FAO for seeing it fit to procure and donate the backhoe to Sape farm.
He also thanked FAO for its continuous commitment to agriculture development in the country through MAL/government.
“I understand there are few challenges that every one of us facing but it’s an opportunity behind all these challenges,” Dr. Paul said.
“We have a lot of risks. We have survived at least three cyclones, three heavy flooding and we have to use our hands to dig using modified ridges and while everyone sleep we swim in the rains to divert flood waters from coming in or inundating the farm.
“Now that we received the backhoe it will make work much easier for us to establish proper drainage system to deter or avoid flood waters from coming into the farm and to establish a farm road in the farm that is mechanization of Agriculture to reduce farm lossage. Therefore, we would like to express our profound gratitude to the government through MAL with the collaborative support from FAO for the donation of the backhoe.
“The biggest risk is to loss the whole farm when there is flooding. Therefore, I would like to also thank Sape farm team/workers for their hard work in saving the farm through flooded waters over the past months.”
In response DST, Michael Ho’ota recognized Sape farm management for their commitment in developing the farm to where it is now today. He also thanked Sape farm for its contribution to food security in the country.
The handover ceremony also coincided with the first harvesting of Sape farm.
In May last year 2020, the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) and Sape farm management signed a 2.7 million funding support agreement that will see cassava root crop transform into an industry in the future.
The funding agreement and partnership was an initiative to support the government’s Food Security Programme.
The funding support agreement catered for farming machineries and tools, processing and refrigeration machines and working capital.
Media Release from MAL Information and Media Unit