On 28 December 2021, the MP for East Guadalcanal, Bradley Tovosia, officially opened the Reighila Farmers Association Open Day at the Hanaga Riverside, East Guadalcanal. This open Day brought together communities as far as Makaruka and Bokasughu areas in the west to Chavunamate on the East
As the omens of covid-19 becomes globally prevalent and evasive, many Solomon Islanders living in Honiara headed back to their villages in their respective provinces as their means of safety.
But really, what are in our villages that will protect us from COVID?
Most probably to avoid people coming from abroad as Honiara is the gateway to our country. But how long did they last in the villages?
Many quickly returned to Honiara.
In the Christmas holidays of 2020, a group of villagers from East Guadalcanal, got together and formed an association that they called themselves, Reighila Farmers Association.
The word Reighila in the Moli dialect means to ‘understand, recognise or acknowledge’ the essence or the truth behind an issue.
This follows some community awareness about the science of covid-19 and how it affects the organs of the human body and the possible consequences.
They were told that one possible preventative measure that was available to communities in rural areas was to eat more locally grown food in their diets and avoid or try to eliminate rice, noodles and taiyo as much as possible.
They were encouraged to grow more vegetables, fruits and traditional greens (kemau, boto, sabure, kwika, kailuvaluva, kumichi, etc).
This led to the formation of the Reighila Farmers Association. They have to pay a registration fee of $10 to be a member.
Now, there are about 110 formally members.
After their formation, Global Green Grant (GGG) provided a small funding for them, which helps them to formally register the association and to purchase some equipment and seeds.
They have since went into farming and on December 28 decided to come together and to demonstrate the produce from their gardens and at the same time earn some money to assist for school fees for their children in the coming new year.
It is the first time and has been described as a success.
Tovosia, MP for East Guadalcanal has also supported the East Guadalcanal Constituency communities with seeds and agricultural hand tools.
He is committed to do more in supporting the communities in the coming years.
After the official opening, prayer and remarks from the chiefs and elders, the stalls were inspected and then the produce were on sale. This was then followed by discussions on the challenges and opportunities that they encounter and exchanges of ideas and possible solutions to help each other going forward.
It was agreed that this will be an annual gathering and there will be another better and bigger one this coming Christmas with more inclusivity of traditional food and its preparation and at the same time to support families with their livelihoods and needs.
Jerry Atu, the chairman of the Association, sincerely thanked everyone for attending and urged every farmer to support each other.
He concluded that “only by supporting each other, they will be able to make progress for their respective families and communities”.