By EDDIE OSIFELO
MINISTRY of Agriculture and Livestock has invested in agriculture this year with the aim of developing it into a new industry.
Speaking at the sine die motion in Parliament on Tuesday, Minister Senley Levi Filualea said there is so much they can achieve through cassava – as a new export commodity – exporting roots and leaves, for the local market as cassava flour and as starch, roots and leaves as animal feeds and can be used in other value add products.
He said a $2.7 million investment with Sape Farm for root crop production for export, food security and animal feeds.
“As of today, the farm has now cultivated and planted about 31 hectares of cassava and now look to roll out more to its 80 out growers around the Guadalcanal G-Plains.
“Earlier this year, we saw Varivao exported cassava to Australia in partnership with Sape Farm and its out growers,” he said.
Minister Filualea said in the coming months they expect to see more cassava exports as they look towards harvesting of current farms and the constructions of two park houses that will see proper processing that is meeting food safety standards.
Furthermore, he said a $2.4 million support to FoodWorks Suppliers to increase supply of day old chicks to meet local demand is now materialised and they will launched the support this Monday with the first batch of day old chicks totalling 17,000 and a further 6,000 first week of December.
“Our chicken farmers often wait for months for day old chicks.
“It was reported to me that some of them are still waiting since last year,” he said.
Minister Filualea said this support is timely creating income opportunities for their own people.
He said reducing the second highest agriculture imports – which is poultry products.
“We are ahead in our plans to develop our own local food supply systems than rely on other countries to feed us.
“These too will contribute towards improving our trade deficit which is now at its lowest,” he said.