More than 20 farmers undertook a demonstration on safety, management and operational procedures on agricultural/farming machines at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) Research Centre at King George IV (former TTM) East of Honiara on Wednesday 17th March 2021.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Solomon Islands through Markets for Change (M4C) Project led the demonstration on a Power Tiller, Toyama Walking Tractor and a Power Base Garden Tiller for farmer participants in West Guadalcanal and farmer representatives from Honiara Central Market Vendors Association (HCMVA).
The demo focused mainly on instructions to safety and use, identification of major parts and functions, machine operation, driving instructions, ploughing/tilling instructions, machine care and maintenance,
The farmers were also taken through field demonstration to encourage them to see and adopt the technology.
MacDonnell Hiva, MAL, Coordinator National Agriculture Livelihoods Improvement & Export Based Expansion (ALEBE) said the demonstration exercise was a success.
He said the farmers were impressed at the field demonstration as some of them for the first time got to have the feel of a power tiller machine and how it operates.
Mr. Hiva said such demonstration exercise is very crucial to prepare farmers before they can be given such machines/tools to boost their farming activities.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers is Moreen Sariki, President for Honiara Central Market Vendors Association (HCMVA).
She said the demonstration exercise is important as it help farmers sharpen their skills and knowledge on the operation and management of such machines.
Mrs. Sariki then thanked MAL and UNDP for making the event possible and also for identifying issues affecting farmers through the purchase of farming machineries that will be distributed to farmers to improve their farming activities.
“Everyday women spend a lot of time in the garden and with such support like this, I believe it will ease farming work and improve farming productivity.”
Two staff from Tongs Corporation, supplier of the Power Base Garden Tiller, were also part of the demonstration as they go through with farmer’s details on the safety, management and operational procedures of the machine (Power Base Garden Tiller).
The programme was part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) National Food security and Enhancement program under its Model Farm project aimed at Promoting and assisting vulnerable communities to improve Food and Nutritional status to ensure every households have access to nutritious food to promote healthy and happy family and to reduce increased cases of Nutrition Disorders in Solomon Islands.
Under the programme, MAL together with UNDP and its stakeholders will deliver the following activities;
Development of model farms/gardens,
Training programmes on health, nutrition and agriculture jointly delivered through MAL and Ministry of Health extension networks and
Distribution of seeds, equipment and tools.
The Model Farm Projects is being implemented in six provinces which include; Makira, Isabel, Central Islands, Choiseul, Western and Guadalcanal province.
The machines was procured by the UNDP Solomon Islands Markets for Change (M4C) Project with funds from the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund with approval from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
Beneficiaries of the machineries are farmers who are members of the Honiara Central Market Vendors Association, Gizo Market Vendors Association and Auki Market Vendors Association.