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Friday, July 28, 2006

RAMSI supports rural livelihood initiatives in Solomon Islands

A major study into agriculture and rural livelihoods in Solomon Islands has recommended ways to improve subsistence farming and lift the living standards of villagers.

The study has identified simple and practical ways to improve farming to make an impact on the lives of thousands of people with better food security and new or sustainable cash generating activities such as crops and livestock.

Launched by the Solomon Islands Minister for Agriculture, Hon Trevor Olavae, and RAMSI Development Coordinator, Blair Exell, the Solomon Islands Smallholder Agriculture Study recognises the importance of small scale farming for the majority of Solomon Islanders.

The Study provides decision makers with information on what is happening now, and what is needed to meet the country’s future needs.

It recommends activities across all provinces, from small changes to the way things are done in village gardens, to potential cash crops and other cash generating farming.

Agriculture Minister, Hon Trevor Olavae, today said that the agriculture sector had been neglected during the tensions, but this had now changed.

“The government is focused on rural development,” Mr Olavae said.

“This study is a useful policy guide – it is very comprehensive and the detail on our situation and practical advice will be most helpful.”

On the basis of this study RAMSI is supporting a number of rural livelihoods activities:
• A market information service
• Ways to improve the production and marketing of staple root crops
• A feasibility study into different types of fruit trees
• A national road improvement program to improve access to markets
• Economic reforms that will improve prospects for villagers

RAMSI Development Coordinator, Blair Exell, said that RAMSI would support a range of further activities aiding rural development.

“These include the production and marketing of Ngali Nut and Vanilla and a program to strengthen supply chains for other rural produce,” Mr Exell said.

“The detail provided in this report will go a long way in helping policy makers work out the most effective activities to improve village livelihoods.”

The Solomon Islands Government and the World Bank, European Union and AusAID are also working together on an Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy (ARDS) to establish a medium to long-term framework to guide future investments in rural areas.

Discussions on the strategy are being conducted this week in Honiara and the provinces.

© RAMSI Public Affairs

Source: PF Net

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