THE Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) through its Guadalcanal Extension office has noted huge involvement of communities in Kava farming in the remote South Guadalcanal in 2021 compared to 2018.
A team from MAL Guadalcanal Province Extension office toured the region from 8th-18th last month (July) on a kava follow-up and processing demonstration mission aligned to South Guadalcanal Kava Intervention and recorded the increase in statistics.
Team leader and Chief Field Officer (CFO) for Guadalcanal Joseph Wotomaru said his team visited 6 wards in the region and compared to data collected in 2018 it shows a huge increase of 52 per cent.
“We visited the same 6 wards in 2018 through where we recorded a total of 48,061 kava plants being planted,” Wotomaru said.
“However, from data collected during our recent trip to South Guadalcanal it indicates an increase compared to year 2018 as there are 101,165 kava planted which is approximately 50.6 hectare of kava being planted to date,” he added.
“This depicts an increase in the number of kava plants by 52 per cent from 2018 to 2021.”
He said his team executed two activities during the field trip which include kava field assessment and processing trainings or demonstrations to increase capacity of farmers.
Wotomaru said the demonstration exercises specifically focused on harvesting, washing and cleaning, selection of chips and roots, cutting and chopping of roots and Chips.
“The processing demonstrations conducted are important to increase the capacity of famers on the standard market requirements so that farmers can be able to produce quality and marketable kava products, hence improving income generation and reducing poverty in the rural areas.
“The field assessment and trainings was conducted purposely to assess kava farms and to collect the latest field data.
“This is to measure the impact of the trainings conducted and the planting materials we distributed to the farmers since 2018 – 2020 with the aim of increasing kava production from 1.2 metric ton (MT) in 2018 to 5 MT by the end of 2023 in the region.
“Data collected could also be used for planning purposes as well as for further farmer support to ensure sustainable kava production in South Guadalcanal.”
He said the trip was a success and a crucial one as information or data collected will assist Guadalcanal Province Extension office to verify the status of each kava farm and to project the total area planted in the target areas and possibly plan out the type of support the farmers need.
The team also delivered British High Commission seed and tools support to Avuavu lead farmers associations, Avuavu Secondary School and Laloato Community High School (CHS).
Wotomaru thanked MAL management and Guadalcanal Provincial Government for the support to the trip to ensure the program is implemented to support farmers in the remote South Guadalcanal region.
“Increasing kava production in South Guadalcanal will not only benefit the famers but it will also have a positive impact to the provincial and the nation economy.”