Updating news on the Solomon Islands Rural Development Programme 2008-2020 for an external audience

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DEAR EDITOR, In early 2008 I read that up to $31.8 million was to be injected into the Solomon Islands Rural Development Programme in a joint investment initiative by the World Bank, Australia, the European Union, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Solomon Islands Government.

The investment programme was aimed at raising the living standards of rural households by improving infrastructure and services, as well as helping the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to deliver advice and services to farmers.

Phase 2 of the intended programme would run from 2015 to 2020 and would ensure small scale village infrastructure projects in every ward of Solomon Islands, support alliances between the private sector and smallholder farmers and stimulate agribusiness activity in rural areas.

As Phase 2 is already 3 years into its programme, it would be helpful to know how the plan has worked out and what village infrastructure projects are already providing rural people with the income they need.

In addition, could it be said what is expected to see developed in support of Phase 2 in the next 2 years?

I am aware of the advice given to cocoa farmers and the increased crop yields that have added to exports.

Palm oil production has continued to be a contributor to agro-crop exports and I am hopeful that one might yet see local kava production and sales aid rural people.

With the very recent discovery of gem quality moisannite in East Kwara’ae, perhaps some attention might be devoted in the remaining years of Phase 2 to support the idea of a local cottage industry as envisaged by the Technical Institute of Malaita (TIM)

My website www.solomonislandsinfocus.com attracts a wide international audience and it would be of interest to be able to demonstrate the success of the jointly supported and financed Rural Development Programme.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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