The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) has received an overwhelming support and feedbacks from households in Honiara and on the outskirt regarding the Organic Backyard Garden (Sup-sup garden) program that it is implementing.
This follows a joint visit from extension and research officers of MAL on Thursday 30 July; headed by the Undersecretary Technical, Michael Ho’ota to households the ministry has supported them with vegetable seedlings and gardening tools in June to start-off their Organic Backyard Gardens.
The visit covers whole of the city (East Honiara, Central and West Honiara) and a community in the outskirt of town – Barana Community.
MAL Undersecretary, Michael Ho’ota said the purpose of the field visit was for the implementing ministry (MAL) officers through its Extension and Research. Departments to see for themselves the progress so far and to hear from the project recipients on their experiences and challenges.
“This will enable the ministry to be able to pave a way forward and re-strategies in further assistance to them (project recipients) and other farmers as we enter the second four (4) months of State of Public Emergency (SOPE).”
The Undersecretary said that the sup-sup garden program is not a new initiative under the ministry’s undertaking. It has been there for years but remain quiet for some times due to financial obstacles and due to the impact of Covid-19, the national government through MAL decided to restimulate the program to encourage households to make gardens around their houses to subsidise food costs.
“And also this is align with the national government food security programme to counter the impacts of COVID-19.”
Speaking to MAL Media, project recipient, Hilda Mudu who residents at Mud Land, Fulisango community, East Honiara said the support she get through the donation of seedlings and tools has help her a lot with the expansion of her organic backyard garden.
“This program is helping us a lot, especially women who struggle to put food on the table every time for our families. The support I get enabled me to expand my sup-sup garden and ensure surplus is sold at the market to meet my household needs.”
Ms. Mudu confirmed that from the seedlings she received in June, she was able to make her first harvest for family consumption and sold the remaining at the market to meet other family needs.
“I must thanked the government for this support and I called on MAL to continue with the program.”
Recipient, John Philip, a teacher by profession who residents at Mt. Austen while sharing the same sentiments said:
“What the government through MAL is doing is very significant especially in this period where the country is impacted with Covid-19 and our food security is at threat.
“I am pleased with the program because it will sustain our lives and help other families to support themselves sustain their lives as well.
“I must commend the government for the initiative and I plead on the government through MAL to continue with the program in the future even though Covid-19 is anticipated to be over.”
Another project recipient, Annet Kaora from Barana community said she now stopped borrowing gardening tools from her neighbours after she received her seedlings and tools from MAL in June.
“Before I used to borrow gardening tools from my neighbours but now I have stopped after I got the support from MAL.
“This really help us women in the rural communities, especially those of us who rely heavily on gardening for market and for our livelihood,” she said.
Mrs. Kaora said government must continue with this very important program to support families sustain their living.
“From the seedlings I received from MAL, I am able to make my first harvest and sold them at the market. I earned a good money from the harvest and that help me meet my family basic needs,” Mrs. Kaora said with a smile.
Australian Government (DFAT) in partnership with UNDP supported the program and implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.