The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) boosted two Rural Training Centres (RTCs) agriculture programs with the donation of vegetable seeds and tools on Friday 9th April 2021.
They are St Martin’s Rural Training Centre at Tenaru and Don Bosco RTC at Tetere in Guadalcanal Province.
The support was made possible under MAL’s Livelihood Sector initiative to support and encourage farming groups, education institutions and community groups to make gardens around their houses or grow vegetables to subsidize food cost as aligned to the national government food security programme to counter the impacts of Covid-19.
Chief Field Officer of MAL, Lily Wame said supporting farming groups and education institutions which include Rural Training Centres that active in growing vegetables is critical to make sure they expand their food gardens with early maturing vegetable seeds and basic farming tools as well as increase food production competency.
“Participating communities, Rural Training centres and Secondary schools that are active in growing vegetables are identified by our normal Provincial Agriculture Extension office network.
“Supporting boarding RTC schools like St. Martin’s and Don Bosco is very important and such support is not intended to only support their (students) learning but as boarding schools MAL want to encourage schools to go into farming and provide students with more healthy food.
“Also it is good to support schools manage their costs as part of their preparation for any Covid-19 pandemic restrictions – that is saving money for future disasters or restrictions.”
Mrs. Wame thanked the RTC’s management for accepting the support though quite small but assured that MAL as a mandated ministry responsible for agriculture development in the country will continue to support the farming community to guarantee farmers or people improve their farming activities and make sure they have healthy and nutritious food available.
Receiving the support on behalf of St. Martin’s RTC is Principal, Valeriano Kwany and Agriculture teacher, Madam Anna Mae.
“This is a timely support,” excited Principal Kwany said.
He said such assistance is critical at this time of pandemic as everyone (citizens) taking substitutes to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.
“This will not only improve our school farming programs, but, it will also boost our agriculture student’s practical knowledge as well as complement food in terms of fresh vegetables for the school as part of subsidizing food cost,” Mr. Kwany said.
Agriculture teacher, Madam Anna Mae while expressing her gratitude to MAL for seeing it fit to assist the school said the support is not only well-timed but important to the school agriculture segment an area where she’s been taking care of since then.
“These tools and seeds are really a bonus for the school especially agriculture division as it will help students in their practical learning.
“We have students from almost every provinces undertaking training here and many are interested in agriculture. And accessing basic farming tools is one of our greatest need to do farm work. So, this support will boost our practical field activities (farming) as well as improve food production for the school,” Ms. Mae said.
Meanwhile, Don Bosco RTC senior instructor, Francis Ngaovera while sharing the same sentiments thanked MAL for the assistance.
He said the support brings hope for students especially in agriculture as it will help them enhance their practical training and also produce food for the school to support food cost.
Mr. Francis said he wants to see the continuation of the programme in the future and want closer working relationship between MAL and RTC’s and schools around the country to enable improvement of the agriculture sector.
British High Commission in Honiara early this year donated the seeds and tools to MAL and the ministry (MAL) as the implementer distributed the items under its Livelihood Sector – Food Security Programme in response to the impact of Covid-19 to farmers.
The Food security programme is aimed at reducing the impact of Covid-19 in Honiara and provincial urban centres and rural communities with the aim to strengthen farming groups, education institutions and communities’ capacity and increased their production.
Guadalcanal province starts off distribution last week with extension of delivery to other provinces and communities expected in due course.