The new Honourable Minister for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) Franklyn Derek Wasi says he is pushing for the availability of more funds to revitalize the cocoa industry.

Early this week the ministry through the Hon. Minister Wasi has for the first time submitted a cabinet paper for prioritizing $5 million funding as a start to cocoa and copra export.

Ministry understands that the cabinet paper was approved by Cabinet in its deliberation on Thursday 27th June 2024.

Minister Wasi said that his ministry may have the solution to addressing our tight cash flow situation.

He explained that increasing the export volume of cocoa in particular, given the exponential world market price for cocoa, will generate much-needed foreign earnings to the country.

Current world market price for cocoa fluctuates between USD9,000 to USD10,000 per ton, the highest in history.

Local domestic price for dried cocoa beans in the country sits around $50-$60 per kg.

While many cocoa farms are lying idle with low production, Hon. Minister Wasi believes that there is a sufficient level of production to boost our current level of export much further to a higher volume.

At the same time Hon. Minister Wasi assured both the cocoa and coconut farmers that his ministry will be seriously revitalizing these two important cash crops and that, his officers are now working on an intervention strategy for cocoa to quickly accommodate for the current high global market price.

He said that during the cabinet deliberation, all his colleagues Honourable Ministers gave full endorsement to the intention of the ministry to provide financial assistance to both the cocoa and coconut industries.

The ministry recognized that the Government for National Unity and Transformation (GNUT) through Cabinet has pledged to prioritize agriculture as the true main backbone for economic growth in Solomon Islands.

Apart from the cabinet paper on cocoa funding, Hon. Minister Wasi also presented a cabinet paper on establishing an Agriculture National Advisory Council.

“The advisory council will comprise of all the technical professionals within the agriculture sector and representatives from the farming and private investors.

“It will function as the main advisory body to the ministry and provide oversight on policy-related matters,” the Hon. Minister explained.

He emphasized that the advisory council has become very necessary as there is currently a huge generational gap within the ministry and the sector as a whole.

Hon. Minister Wasi further said that he wants to make agriculture attractive to everyone and make it everybody’s business.

Meanwhile, the ministry understands both cabinet papers were approved by the cabinet and probably this is the first time for a MAL Hon. Minister to present two papers in a single cabinet session.

If this is anything to go by then, it could be a positive indicator for agriculture growth in the country.

The ministry is now in the process of procuring funds from the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) to avail to buyers and exporters of cocoa in particular.

Honorable Minister Franklyn Derek Wasi who is the Member of Parliament for East Makira Constituency, took the helm of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock from his predecessor the former MP for Lau/Mbaelelea, Mr. Augustine Auga.



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