Agriculture team visits SPK farm

A delegation comprised of senior officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) Extension department in Honiara and Guadalcanal Province Agriculture Division visited SPK farm at Metapona area, North Guadalcanal on 23rd September.

The joint visit was for officers to witness first-hand information, challenges and farming issues SPK farm is facing which requires technical assistances from the government as well as assessed the measures needed to be in place to ensure development of the farm progresses to the next level.

Welcoming the delegates, Chief Baddley Beuko said the visit was a positive gesture as it proven a new chapter for SPK farm management to work in partnership with MAL for potential support towards the farm development.

“To receive such important delegation from the government is reassuring and we are really pleased with your visit.

“This is an opportunity for us to share and chat future pathways for close collaboration,” he said.

Chief Beuko admitted that the visit was the first of its kind since the inaugural of SPK farm in June 2019.

Chief Field Officer for Guadalcanal Province Joseph Wotomaru who led the delegation said the visit was an important one as it set basis for field officers to get actual information and observed issues facing the farm for further recommendation from MAL, and identify where it proper to provide assistance.

Agriculture team visits SPK farm
MAL officers inspecting and assessing damage made by giant African snail to root crops on the farm.

He assured the SPK farm management that a report with recommendations will be forwarded to the senior management of MAL for their consideration.

Mr. Wotomaru recognised SPK farm management for their commitment and sacrifices for progressing the farm to-date despite support impediments.

“SPK farm is contributing a lot towards food security in your community and in Honiara. You have played a big role in this regard – food security.”

Mr. Wotomaru then thanked MAL senior officers and Guadalcanal Province Agriculture Division officers for being part of the visit.

MAL Chief Field Officer, Lily Wame while commending SPK farm for their commitment said she was impressed with the farm progress so far.

Mrs. Wame said that the inaugural visit was really an opportunity to ensure MAL and SPK farm management dialogue and explore possible avenues for potential assistance.

“In every undertaking, there are challenges we have to overcome and some positives we can build on. This field visit has indeed given us a little bit of both. Facts gathered from this trip will help us (MAL) prepare recommendations for prospective support.”

Agriculture team visits SPK farm
Managing Director and owner of SPK farm Stephen Keve (left) explains a root crop planted in his farm to the visiting delegation.

Challenges facing SPK farm includes; 

  • Plant or crop health issues
  • Handling of pesticides
  • Minimal knowledge of organic and non- organic fertilizers
  • Lack of management skills to embrace quantity and quality products
  • Post harvesting management, including cleaning, packaging storage, transportation and marketing networking
  • Irrigation system
  • Labour mobilization
  • Farm machineries and implements and
  • Adverse climatic conditions

“I see lots of opportunities the ministry (MAL) can explore and exploit in alliance with SPK farm.

“Land is readily available, but it is how we farmer’s operate the plots of land to produce at the level that MAL and the entire community and SPK farm can be proud of,”Mrs. Wame said.

SPK vegetable farm is a privately operated farm and is owned by Stephen Keve.

Developed since June 2019, SPK farm covers about 3.3 hectares of land area with potential land areas available for expansion for large-scale vegetable, fruits and root crops production.

Agriculture team visits SPK farm
Beans being planted at the farm.