By Mike Puia
THE Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MALD) will not issue out application forms for new agriculture projects.
This measure is necessary to allow the Ministry to deal with a huge number of outstanding projects it had received dated back to 2015.
This year there has been a huge cut to the Ministry’s budget. That is the main issue that prompted this measure.
The Agriculture Planning & Management Department confirmed having a huge pile of projects in its possession.
The Department’s Chief Planning Officer, Franklyn Wasi, said they have a pile of outstanding projects dating back to 2015 therefore they will cease issuing forms for new ones.
No date was given as to when forms for new projects will be re-opened to farmers.
Wasi confirmed for this year their department received $1.5million for their cocoa programme and no funding for the coconut programme.
He said this funding is small as $1m will be used up by administration related work leaving only $0.5m for its activities.
Other departments face the same issue. Their budgets have also seen huge shrink.
The Agriculture Extension Services department, for instance, gets only $1m for its food security programme, $2m for its livelihood programme and $1m for its extension infrastructure programme.
Wasi confirmed at present they are dealing with past projects that have been approved by the ministry.
Most farmers whom their projects were approved are now collecting materials from suppliers in Honiara.