SIART, MAL- The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) and Chairman of the Solomon Islands Agriculture and Rural Transformation Project Steering Committee (PSC), Lottie Vaisekavea, during the Project Steering Committee’s (PSC) second meeting on February 20, 2023, said a new strategy in developing the Solomon Islands agriculture has dawned – It is called the New Day Strategy.
One of the key components under the new strategy is the elevation of the farmer profile. The present farmer profile cannot deliver the 21st Century agriculture demand. The smallholder base has to be transformed in order to procure a new agriculture context. Agriculture development needs to make sense to the farmer/family/community before they can willingly participate. The same also goes for a generational transfer to secure the future of the agriculture sector. In the present status quo, farmers are reluctant to participate or cannot participate due to the prevailing unviable production functions.
MAL is shifting the sector to a new agriculture production platform based on developing a new rural synergy as the energy of creating and building the new momentum. The SIART project is well aligned to this mandate and will pilot these in Malaita, Makira and Guadalcanal provinces. The energy for rural agriculture production is to be corporatized through the structures of agriculture producer organizations in the shape and form relevant for the specific provincial contexts.
The New Day Strategy is to bring transformation across the whole agriculture sector pivoting upon a transformation of the human component as the Common Denominator and therefore creating a deliberate choice to drive the sector.
Partnerships will form the basis of the new rural agriculture,” he highlighted.
MAL will support a smallholder whole farm system to secure and reconcile existing income and food security and nutrition gaps to provide new motivation and energy for building the new agriculture farmer profile. This will ensure that agriculture will make sense again to all its beneficiaries and stakeholders.
The new strategy will allow and enhance each farmer/family/community to procure and possess sustainability as a deliberate capacity of choice, agreement and commitment. Farmers and agriculture beneficiaries can breathe on their own rather than be dependent. This allows for the limited and scarce resources available to the sector to be leveraged to bring the best and maximum opportunity and to create viable future cascades for the sector and its value chain.
There is a very low generational transfer in the sector meaning that natural succession planning is not happening in the sector. There is no motivation for young people to participate as all they have witnessed of their parents and grand parents was struggle, insufficiency, large income gaps and food insecurity. The NDS responds to this to ensure that the sector will create and build a strong dynamic human resources for the 21st Century.
“We want to see many young people playing an active part in our agriculture development,” he added.
MAL, through the SIART project encourages rural farmers through Agribusiness Producers Organizations (ABPOs) to do more small-scale livestock, bee keeping, feed mill, and also to consolidate our present crops like cocoa and coconut.
SIART Project Manager, Mrs. Louisa Fakaia updated the Project Steering Committee of the project implementation, its compliant with the project legal compliance, and the support the stakeholders have given so far to the project management unit. So far, the legal covenant in the Project’s Financing Agreement has been met.
“More activities with the financial spending will be done in the coming months, as SIART implementation is progressing well,” said Fakaia.
MAL will have launches in the three SIART project provinces of Malaita, Guadalcanal, and Makira before the provincial implementation to increase agricultural production and market access to transform the rural agriculture.
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