Huge export potential in agriculture sector

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BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE

ECONOMIC stability is a needed platform to spur growth.

This was stated in International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) 2016 report on Solomon Islands Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) 2016-2020.

Under “Economic Growth”, IMF stresses that improvements are needed in economic and financial management and accountability.

Additionally, national fiscal and monetary policies should facilitate growth.

IMF said there needs to be a vibrant and robust economic environment to stimulate growth and investment.

In terms of productive sectors, agriculture, fisheries, tourism and forestry have been identified as potential drivers of economic growth in the country.

IMF highlighted agriculture as the most important sector for the Solomon Islands economy as it provides for and sustains 85 percent of the rural population with food crops, cash crops and livestock for their daily livelihoods, food and social security.

Agriculture exports were also mentioned as a major source of export earnings.

The report stated that enhanced production of staple foods is essential for food security and the well-being of the rural population.

However, emphasise is that a twin track strategy including the development of commercial agriculture and exports is key to growth.

IMF says there is large potential to increase production and export from large-scale plantations.

On the other hand, the livestock sector is underdeveloped and domestic production does not meet consumption.

While the domestic industry is mostly back-yard production, IMF points out that production could be increased through better animal husbandry, feeding practices and improved breeds.

Programs and projects under the Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) are in line with the emphasis of the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government policy priorities with focus on economic growth and effective service delivery.

“MTDP has emphasised the need for fundamental and sector reform programmes, including governance and anti-corruption, and in the productive, resource and social sectors,” said IMF.


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