A new era partnership to boost agriculture development focusing on strengthening food production for food security has materialized between the Ministry of Agriculture (MAL) and the Correctional Services of Solomon Islands (CSSI).
The new partnership was acknowledged during a handing over ceremony of seeds and basic farming tools and materials by MAL to CSSI Tetere Correctional Centre (TCC) in Guadalcanal Province on April 15.
“This occasion (handing over) heralds a new era in a partnership between MAL and CSSI in agriculture development, more specifically in food production for food security and as an opportunity in giving the CSSI inmates opportunity to learn farming practices as part of their rehabilitation process,” Deputy Secretary Technical Michael Ho’ota said on behalf of MAL’s Permanent Secretary.
“Now that this partnership begun, the ministry is looking forward in participating in partnership with CSSI on other agriculture development aspirations that it (CSSI) has.
“Our technical team stand ready to assist you in technical matters relating to production of agriculture crops and livestock,” Ho’ota assured CSSI Commissioner, Gabriel Manelusi during the handover ceremony.
“As CSSI commissioner, I feel very honoured and pleased to receive these items on behalf of CSSI,” Commissioner Manelusi said.
Manelusi said the assistance has established a partnership that will grow and strengthen both organisations collaboration in agriculture development, especially in food production for food security and as an opportunity in giving inmates the prospect to learn farming practices as part of their rehabilitation development.
He said the support will boost the real need of progressing the capacity or rehabilitation programme of the Correctional Centre (Tetere) for inmates as well as equip and prepare them before they can go back to the communities.
Meanwhile, Ho’ota said the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) in an efforts to address the impact of the Covid-19 on our economy redirected and streamline its policies which resulted in the following policies for agriculture sector;
• Develop and Strengthen Production of Export Crops.
• Facilitate and support the development of Commercial Agriculture.
• Enhance Food Security and the Livestock industry to alleviate rural poverty.
“The occasion we witness here today is part and parcel in the implementation of the government of the day policies,” Mr. Ho’ota said.
British High Commission in Honiara on January 18, 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.
Ho’ota while acknowledging the British people through the British High Commission Office in Honiara for the donated seeds and tools said the main objective of the Livelihood Sector as hosted by MAL under its Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Strategy is to boost Food Production by growing early maturing crop to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on Food Security and the livelihood of the people of Solomon Islands.
Commissioner Manelusi also took the time to thank the British High Commission office in Honiara for the donation of the farming items through MAL where facilitate the activities.
“It’s an honor to receive these agriculture farm equipments. These equipments will really help our farming industry here at Tetere especially during this Covid-19 season. Also with the redirection of the government and besides limited resources that we have, these support will boost our activities here at the Centre as we continue to develop capacity development of our inmates,” Manelusi said.
“As Commissioner, I am really touched by this support, because we have struggle on how we can progress for the future of our inmates.
How can we develop them proper, equip them proper on farming practices so that when they go back to the communities they can be able to engage in farming activities – especially at the community level where it can progress our economy development.”
TCC has involve in various farming program activities which include; piggery, poultry, vegetable farming and forestry.
These farming activities were part of the CSSI rehabilitation program which aim to equip inmates with skills and knowledge more especially on farming practices and other activities hosted by the Centre.
Inspector and TCC Farm Manager, Mark Seiroa said he is happy for the support.
“Often times we find it hard to procure quality seeds. We use to pay seeds from the Chinese shops but somehow some manage to geminate, some just rotten and died.
“What you provided will help our inmates in farming activities as part of our rehabilitation program here to equip them with necessary skills and knowledge on farming practices.
We will enjoy working with the tools. Thank you for the support,” Mr. Seiroa expressed.
Ho’ota and the CSSI Commissioner Manelusi together with the MAL and CSSI officers as accompanied by Inspector and TCC Farm Manager, Mr Seiroa also took a brief tour around the Centre (TCC) and observed the farming activities that are taking place there.
Various vegetable types with a total of 70 packets, basic farming tools and materials were donated to TCC.