The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) continue to roll out distribution of the British High Commission (BHC) donated seeds and tools to the farming community across the country.
Distribution commenced last week Friday 9th April with Betikama Adventist College (BAC) and St. Joseph Tenaru boarding schools got their first share of the cake.
British High Commission in Honiara on 18th January 2021 donated the seeds and tools to MAL and the ministry (MAL) as the implementer distribute the items to identified farming groups, education institutions and community groups in the country under its Livelihood Sector – Food Security Programme in response to the impact of Covid-19.
“This is an ongoing support programme of the ministry under Livelihood and is also part of government Livelihood Sector initiative under Covid-19 Strategy for the Agriculture Sector,” Chief Field Officer of MAL, Lily Wame said.
Mrs. Wame said the support is to ensure community members and education institutions establish and expand their food gardens with early maturing vegetable seeds and basic farming tools to increase food production capability.
“Distribution starts in Guadalcanal and Honiara and will spread to the provinces adding batches of seeds and farming tools for Western Province has already sent Sunday 11th April to MAL Extension office in Western where they will supervises distribution in the coming days and weeks with the Western border communities as priority.
“MAL Food Security Programme 2021 support from British High Commission is to address the Recovery Phase for Other Provinces while an Emergency Phase for Shortland Islands in the Western Province, Choiseul and Malaita Outer Islands for Malaita Province. The Emergency phase referred to boarder areas that are higher risk to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Also travel restrictions is impacting livelihood of communities who live along the border with Bougainville as they often travel across the border to Buka Market to sale marine products like fish then buy vegetables and other necessities for their families. Therefore, this support is to assist these communities make gardens so they can still provide vegetables to their families,” Mrs. Wame emphasized.
MAL is supporting boarding schools like Betikama and Tenaru not only to support their learning but as boarding schools it 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.
Receiving the items, Betikama Adventist College (BAC), Principal, Partinson Bekala expressed gratitude to MAL for seeing fit to support the school with the seeds and tools.
Mr. Bekala also extended his appreciation to the British High Commission and the people of Great Britain for the kind donation through MAL to guarantee farmers or people access good quality seeds and tools to support them with their farming activities.
“This is a timely support as it will provide practical aspect to students especially in agriculture and also supplement food for the school. This is a way forward for BAC as we are also preparing to implement our cassava project soon which was also supported by MAL.”
Mr. Bekala said he wants to see the continuation of the programme in the future.
Sharing the same sentiments is BAC Agriculture Science Teacher Mr. Kendrick Tangoéha.
Mr. Tangoéha reaffirmed that the seeds and tools will really help students in their field practical work which will contribute a lot towards their school assessments – especially form 3 and form 5.
“The support is well-timed. Thank you MAL.” he said.
Principal of St. Joseph Tenaru Secondary School, Abraham Hihiru while applauding the government through MAL for the kind assistance assured the ministry that the items will be utilized for its envisioned purpose to support students in their practical learning – especially agriculture students and also make sure the seeds are planted to complement food for the school.
The support is part of the ongoing agriculture support programme that the ministry is implementing under its 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 costs as aligned to the national government food security programme to counter the impacts of Covid-19.