BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
LOCAL Vanilla farmers from East Central Guadalcanal have benefited from their recent training and are confident to expand their farm.
The training was supported by Member of Parliament for East Central Guadalcanal Ishmael Avui to assist farmers venture into vanilla farming.
Chief and Community Leader Joseph Sungina of Patima Village acknowledged Hon. Ishmael Avui’s vision of educating local farmers in the rural communities.
“We appreciate our MP for providing such training for farmers in the rural villages.
“I participated in similar Vanilla trainings since 2014 to 2017 and I am willing to work with other vanilla farmers in my community.
“This year, a small assistance by Hon. Avui has enabled us to put into practice what we have learned from the CSP training,” he said.
Sungina said in 2018 he planted 200 plants which now bear flowers.
He said he is expecting to sell his vanilla beans by September.
He said after attending the training he is now preparing to expand his farm to up to 1,000 plants.
Sungina added he is now establishing a Vanilla Co-operative for East Central Guadalcanal.
“This is good for our community to grow vanilla because it is highly priced and does not cause stress on land fertility and soil erosion compared to other cash crops,” he said.
Meanwhile, Joseph said vanilla does not need much input to grow because it is easy to manage in the rural villages.
He said that with the skills he gained from an expert from France through the CSP programme, he is organising a training for members of his constituency co-operative society.
Meanwhile he calls on the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) to support rural vanilla farmers to develop their own farm.
“We are very grateful to our MP because the programme helped local farmers include rural people to understand the value of vanilla,” he added.
“The story of vanilla we have been hearing from other counties has now come to our doorstep.
“I believe out of the training the local farmers will put into practise what they have learnt.
He assured Hon Avui and his team that with the knowledge they gained from the training they are confident to make a difference for families and communities with his constituency.