THE noni revolution continues to benefit a rapidly growing number of rural communities.
Member of Parliament for Northwest Guadalcanal, Bodo Dettke paid a courtesy visit to the Governor General, Sir David Vunagi at the Government House on Tuesday 17th March for a brief touch base on the noni industry and how it is progressing.
Mr Dettke’s visit comes as a follow-up on his Excellency’s speech from the Throne at the opening of the 3rd Meeting of the 11th Parliament on Monday.
In his speech, Sir David highlighted the need for an aggressive approach to stimulate and harness interest in our rural areas in new local root crops, like kava, ginger and noni, which he said, can become major commercial commodities for the country.
Dettke briefed the Governor General on how far the young noni industry has come and the many challenges it faces with the government. While it is clear that the potentials are for the industry to grow and benefit our rural people, it can do even better if the government seriously back it up with appropriate incentives.
He also presented the Governor General with some of the products made out of noni which were produced locally in his factory in Honiara and Australia.
During the hour-long meeting, Dettke explained the process involved in this industry, starting from harvesting in the farms, transportation to the factory, separation of white fruits from green fruits, washing and the processing and packaging in the factory.
Dettke also explained the positive spinoffs this pioneer industry has brought to his people of Northwest Guadalcanal compared to copra and cocoa, which requires hard work and small returns from their sweat.
He said a lot of families and individuals from other constituencies have also benefited from this initiative because they sell their noni products every Tuesdays and earned thousand dollars.
Unlike in the past, women nowadays have to wait for days to earn money from their produces sold at the Honiara Central market, or to compete for space with other vendors to sell their products.
He goes on to say, today even students and school drop outs are now heavily involved in harvesting of noni and earning their own money after the sales.
Dettke strongly believes that the noni industry can address the high unemployment rate in the country, and the urban drift to Honiara if it is supported by the government to eventually branch out to the provinces.
This will allow people who plant noni in the provinces to sell their products to proposed factories in the provincial centres rather than coming to Honiara.
Despite the hype around noni, the Northwest Guadalcanal MP however points out that the industry is currently faced with so many challenges.
In sharing the Governor General’s sentiments on the serious need to take an aggressive approach to bringing the highlighted crops to the forefront of our agricultural sector, Dettke further stressed that noni should be seen as a fine example of how viable this industry can be, as it has already been proven to have helped improved so many lives of people in both rural and Honiara.
In reply, Sir David, who is fond of planting noni in his village in Isabel, welcomed the initiative made by Dettke.
He said this is the kind of initiative which directly benefits the people in the rural areas who continue to struggle to earn money.
In addition, he said the government must also support such initiative to grow in the country. In exchange of the visit, the Governor General is showing interest to visit the noni factory.