Participants at the workshop, with Minister David Tome and his Permanent Secretary in the foreground. Photo credit: SIBC.

Participants at the workshop, with Minister David Tome and his Permanent Secretary in the foreground. Photo credit: SIBC.

A three day Training of Trainers workshop on Nursery Management of Fruit Trees and Vegetables has started at the King George Sixth Taiwanese Technical Mission Farm in Honiara today.

Jointly organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, and aims to promote and encourage healthy living standards by eating locally grown food.

With the theme “People are healthy and live long lives when they eat what they grow in their gardens, prepare and eat balanced nutritious meals”, the workshop is also aiming to cut down on Non Communicable Diseases, NCDs, in the country by promoting locally grown food.

Speaking to officially launch the workshop today, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, David Tome says he is alarmed at the facts about NCDs in the country.

“On the outset I must say that I am alarmed at the information and facts coming from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services regarding how serious Non-Communicable Diseases are in our country. Diabetes for example is increasing at an alarming rate, that if something is not done to change certain lifestyles it will become an epidemic. For the government this will entail a huge medical cost and a less productive population, because a good portion will be unable to contribute to economic activities.”

The Minister adds, the onus now is on everyone, from government to communities and importantly the general population, to change from lifestyles that are conducive for NCDs to develop, to one that promotes and sustains healthy living.

The Training of Trainers workshop ends this Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Minister says he is pleased to note that some collaborative actions have already been put in place by various stakeholders, including government and non-government agencies.

He says in terms of policies, the Ministry has put in place the National Food Security, Food Safety and Nutrition Policy 2014-2015 and others.

“We have the National Agriculture and Livestock Sector Policy, Policy on organic Agriculture Systems, Indigenous Fruits and Nuts Policy and of course the Lokol Kaikai Framework. I believe other stakeholders also have similar instruments put in place to also address the issue of food, nutrition and human health. At the end of the day, it all boils down to a healthy population being good for the nation. Therefore, health is everybody’s business and to be healthy the nation has to have sufficient healthy and nutritious foods.”

Minister Tome urges the workshop participants to learn all they can from the three day workshop as well as take responsibility in passing their knowledge to others in their communities.

SIBC News understands, the participants are from communities in and around Honiara.

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