Thousands of farmers across Guadalcanal are set to benefit from a new 320-thousand Solomon dollars partnership between the Australian Aid Program and Solo Enviro Beautification, SBE.
A statement from the Australian High Commission office in Honiara says, as part of the Australian Government’s support to flood recovery efforts, SEB will grow 214-thousand vegetable seedlings for distribution to farmers affected by the recent disaster.
The seedlings will include tomatoes, eggplant, papaya, slippery cabbage, cucumber, capsicum and Chinese cabbage.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Andrew Byrne says, the assistance will help farmers and their families replant food gardens and rebuild their livelihoods.
He says the assistance will also help to alleviate food shortages due to crop damage and spoilage during the recent flooding on Guadalcanal.
Mr Byrne says, Australia is proud to partner with SEB in this project, a local NGO which provides disadvantaged youth and women with employment and education opportunities.
Meanwhile, SEB Executive Officer, Tiffany Tena Tuhaika says the partnership will provide skill development opportunities for the program’s trainee horticulturalists as well as local jobs.
She says SEB’s 45 trainees will benefit from learning about mass propagation of seedlings adding, that the project will also provide full-time job opportunities for 5 female Solomon Islanders who have already graduated from the horticulture training program.
The first of the seedlings will be ready for distribution next month.
The statement says, the Australian High Commission will coordinate delivery of the seedlings with Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Kastom Garden Association and other NGO partners who are participating in the flood response.
Rotary New Zealand has also donated 5-thousand Australian dollars towards freight costs.
SEB currently hosts a Horticultural Advisor and Training Officer, through the Australian Volunteers for International Development program.
The adviser is helping to build the skills of SEB staff and improve their training programs and business operations.