Initiative to support rural farmers in times of Covid-19

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Festers Dalei and community members with their bags of harvested products
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BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO

North West Guadalcanal Development Association (NWGD) has introduced a new initiative ‘Bulk Marketing’ for rural farmers to generate income amidst impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the initiative rural farmers will not spend money to travel to the Honiara Central market to sell their produce.

Chair of the association Simon Chottu said under the new initiative the rural farmers will supply the local produce in bulk to the buyers residing in the capital city, Honiara.

He said the impact of Covid-19 has affected the rural farmers from West Guadalcanal to bring their local produce for marketing when the government declared the emergency zone.

On April 18, 2021 Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare declared Poha River in West Guadalcanal and Alligator Creek in East Honiara as emergency zones.

Festers Dalei shows what he earns from his local products

Chottu said in response the association introduced the Bulk Marking to support rural farmers directly sell their produce from home in bulk.

He said the local produce they normally sell in bulk are fresh vegetables and root crops.

These include cassava, pawpaw, banana, chilli, sugarcane, tomatoes, pineapple, vegetables, dry coconut and yam.

A local farmer and member of the association Festers Dalei said the establishment of the association is timely adding it has helped a lot of local farmers with hope and opportunity to sell their local produce to generate income and sustain their livelihood during this time of uncertainty.

“All we need during this pandemic is money and the formation of this association has answered our struggle to meet our daily needs and also support our children to be able to complete their education,” he said

Dalei stressed the association also helped them to sell their noni fruits.

“I am very happy to see income from my garden shade especially the selling of noni fruit. I have a big noni tree inside my garden that I use for shade during humidity while working in my garden and now I am very happy and thank our Lord for the blessing,” he said.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare when he visited the establishment of the association praised them for developing their resources for economic self-reliance.

He described the Association as a classic example of a great initiative that engages people in agriculture activities that contribute to positive economic development and financial self-reliance.

The NWGDA was established this year when the Government announced its Economic Stimulus Package initiative as a way to properly organise local farmers who are willing to enhance their economic activities.

The Association is inclusive of Copra, Cocoa, Noni, Root Crops, Poultry, Fisheries, Youth events, Programs, Training, Tourism and Networking.


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