Thursday, 21 August 2008 2:58 PM

$25m for Rice Development Approved

The Ministry of Agriculture submitted its Supplementary Budget, where all proposals were turned down except for the $25 million proposed to support local Rice development in the Solomon Islands.

In an interview with Solomon Times, the Under Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Mr. Maesulia stated that Rice projects are ready but identification for which projects to support is underway. He added that the Government is looking to have a rice budget, so this is quite an advantage.

In regards to availability of land for Rice farms, Mr. Maesulia stated that this has been a difficulty, as Land Owners are not ready to give up their lands for development.

"We are looking at ways to resolve the problem, because rice production needs more than 300 hectares of land and wider consultation with land owners is essential," Mr. Maesulia stated.

Although the Ministry is encountering such issues, Mr. Maesulia told Solomon Times that the Ministry is prepared to support rice projects in the Solomon Islands.

"When the money is ascended to the ministry this week, then the project to support rice projects will begin. Because Provincial Project Officers are already in the Provinces, they will be able to work on the project as soon as possible," Mr Maesulia concludes.

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