A retired senior agriculture extension officer and local copra producers in Shortland Islands are calling on the Democratic Coalition for Change Government to do away with discretionary rights to agriculture funds especially for copra.
The group of concerned copra producers made the call following failed promises by the past government to support them with copra projects.
SIBC stringer for Shortland Islands, John Kotaru reports, the farmers say they want the funds to be managed by line ministries and not MPs under their discretion.
“The concerned farmers called on the Democratic Coalition for Change Government under the leadership of the Prime Minister Honourable Manasseh Sogavare to change the funding off the discretion of MPs to line ministries, including the coconut funding from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock so that it can touch the lives of people at the grassroots level.”
Mr. Kotaru says under the last government, this project money was mostly spent on people who do not own coconut plantations.
“For the Shortland Constituency the project money was spent on people who never had coconut planting projects. Even the Constituency Project Officers and the Constituency Development Officer have never checked these projects before funding can be disbursed, so the genuine coconut farmers were left out.”