By EDDIE OSIFELO
SEVEN women were among the ten recipients in Honiara that received free vegetables seedlings from Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock on Wednesday 6th May.
The ten recipients represent three households in East Honiara, three in West Honiara and four from Central Honiara.
Each recipient received a total of 60 seedlings which include 20 seeds of pakchoi, 20 seeds of saladeer and 20 seeds of choisum.
As such, a total of 600 seedlings were given out on the day.
Newly appointed Minister of MAL, Senley Levi Filualea was at hand to deliver the seedlings to the recipients.
Filualea said this indicated the Democratic Coalition for Change Advancement (DCGA) Government’s commitment to help farmers in Honiara.
He said there is also a plan to extend the same initiative to the provinces through consultation with staff in the ministry.
Furthermore, the even though the coronavirus brings negative impact, it also comes with opportunities where the government sees the importance of agriculture.
His Permanent Secretary, Ethel Frances supported the sentiment saying the initiative will address food security in the country.
She said there are a lot of families who have struggle; as such this initiative will really help them.
The Agriculture research team at the National Agriculture and Livestock Research Development Center (NARLDC) at old Taiwanese Technical farm opposite KGVI School supplied the seedlings from their mass nursery production.
The NARLDC team under the Ministry of agriculture and Livestock is mandated by the National Disaster Organising Committee Livelihood committee to carry out the task to ensure food supply (Vegetables) for Honiara is maintained even when in a lock-down situation due to COVID-19.
Chief Research Officer Maria Ghasuka said the nursery started in April 2 where they planted the seeds.
Mrs Ghasuka said they targeted 20 households in Honiara but the demands has increased and will do mass production of 8000 seedlings.
She said they need time and resources to produce the nursery and need space for extension as well for the nursery house.
“We also need money to employ casual workers to work in the nursery,” she said.
Mrs Ghasuka said the seedlings given out are already three weeks old and needs another three weeks before they are harvested by the families.
One of the recipients, Julia Maniadalo who has a backyard vegetables beds behind her home at Bishop Eppale in West Honiara, thanked the government for the initiative.
Mrs Maniadalo said she was very happy as first recipient of this initiative.
“I am a farmer for the past ten years.
“I plant vegetables using pots, raised beds and tyres.
“To prevent pests like giant snails, I put sands around my boxes to keep them away,” she said.
With these seedlings, Mrs Maniadalo is looking forward to feed seven people in the family and may sell them if there are surplus.