The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) has acknowledged another mile stone achieved by the Solomon Islands Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Enhanced Capacity for Agriculture Trade (ECAT) project with the signing of two separate contracts by the EIF National Implementation Unit(NIU) on Thursday 27th May 2021.
The EIF is a multi-donor programme which supports Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in their effort of promoting economic growth and sustainable development by addressing their trade and trade-related constrains in order to build their capacity to trade and take advantage of global trade.
Under the Solomon Islands EIF program a Tier 2 Project known as the Solomon Islands Enhanced Capacity for Agriculture Trade (SI-ECAT) was endorsed and currently being implemented by the EIF NIU which is based within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET).
The focus of the SI-ECAT is on the Agriculture sector particularly in helping supply side constraints.
As part of the helping out local companies who are investing in local crops particularly cassava and Taro the EIF NIU team in March had travelled to Lata, Temotu Province to carry out an assessment on how the private sector in Temotu can benefit from the EIF project.
The EIF NIU team identified PZTR company as a company that has already build a large storage and Pack house facility in Lata.
PZTR pack house will be used to process crops like Taro, Nambo, kava and so forth.
With the company already half way through construction of their pack house the EIF NIU recommended that assistance be provided to PZTR company to complete the two storey pack house.
On Thursday the Permanent Secretary of MFAET Collin Beck formally signed the assistance package of SBD$100,000 with the Managing Director of PZTR company, Henry Kapu.
The assistance will be used to complete the storage and processing facility which will be very important for the private sector and farmers in Temotu province.
Speaking during the signing ceremony the Permanent Secretary for MFAET Collin Beck highlighted the importance of the Pack house facility in Lata saying that this vital infrastructure will help local farmers in and around Lata (Temotu) who have had a hard time trying to sell their crops to Honiara.
“With this new pack house I am sure a lot of farmers around Lata will benefit as it will mean farmers will not have to bear the expensive costs of sending their crops to Honiara via ships which is also not consistently travelling to Temotu province.
“I am happy that the EIF project has decided to help PZTR company as this processing facility will also be a very important infrastructure for Temotu province if the proposed Solomon Islands trade link with Vanuatu via Lata happens,” PS Beck said.
Meanwhile speaking on behalf of PZTR company, Henry Kapu thanked the EIF NIU for facilitating the assistance to his company saying that this will enable the company to complete its pack house and storage facility by the end of this year.
“This storage facility once completed will be beneficial for the farmers around Lata who have had to bear expensive costs of freighting their crops to Honiara.
“A majority of women will benefit from selling their crops particularly with bread fruit and a lot of job opportunities will be also available.
“Our company will strive to ensure that this facility is completed so that we can go into processing of local crops like taro, breadfruit and kava,” Mr. Kapu said.
Meanwhile also as part of its activities the EIF NIU project is also assisting the National Public Health laboratory (NPHL) with the building of a new office complex.
During the same ceremony the Permanent Secretary of MFAET Mr. Collin Beck also signed a contract with Motawa Enterprises to formally allow the company to start construction on the new office Complex for the NPHL at Kukum campus.
Motawa enterprises was selected out of 10 other companies that applied through the Central Tender Board(CTB).
The new office complex is fully funded by the EIF and will enable staff of the NPHL to have a new office space for which they have lacked for the last few years.
A ground breaking ceremony for the new office complex will be arranged in the coming week.
The total assistance that the EIF provided for the two projects is SBD$900,000.
The two local indigenous companies will also be monitored by the EIF team on how they will spend the money. This is part of EIF’s monitoring on how their funds are being spent.
EIF program is an AID for Trade program that Solomon Islands benefited from because of its status as a WTO member and also as a LDC.