BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE & PRESLEY SURUMA
ENTREPRENEURS of Solomon Islands can hit jackpot in the country’s agriculture sector.
Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) Permanent Secretary, Ethel Francis brands the agriculture sector a hub of success in the future for young, serious and aspiring entrepreneurs in the country.
She expressed this during a signing and ground-breaking occasion to officially launch the Lavado Cocoa Mill project in Kirakira on October 23.
Francis says the signing which took place between her ministry, Ministry of Commerce Industries and Labour (MCILI), Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC), Ulawa Provincial Government (MUPG), and a private business entity Pinihimae and Associated Groups (PAG) is the start of a new chapter in the context of development not just for Makira-Ulawa province alone but for the country as a whole.
She added that the occasion depicts the result of hard work and dedication between the national government, the MUPG, and a private entity under the Public, Private Partnership (PPP) programme of the government.
Francis also referred to local business, Pinihimae and Associated Groups (PAG) as an example of indigenous and ordinary Solomon Islanders who have toiled to fulfill their vision in making a difference in the agriculture sector, particularly in rural areas.
“This is the ideal example or roadmap in which I am calling on our young people who never had the chance to fulfill their educational aspirations to try and involve in. If rural Makira cocoa farmers such as Pinihimae and Associated Groups (PAG) can achieve such a milestone, there is nothing impossible for other young Solomon Islanders to do the same”, she said.
Francis furthered that her ministry will continue to support and aid the project until it reaches a stage where it is self-sufficient to deliver as expected.
It is understood that when the project is operative, the Lavado cocoa processing centre, a first of its kind in the country will manufacture the needed ingredients to produce by end cocoa products such as chocolates, pharmaceutical products, cosmetics and many more.