The Australian Government through its initiative, Strongim Bisnis, launched a new partnership with two Solomon Islands fertiliser producers, Zai Na Tina Organic Farms and Prosperity Farm Supplies on 16 April.
The partnership aims to improve Zai Na Tina’s and Prosperity’s organic fertiliser production. Both farms currently shred green waste (dead leaves, grass cuttings etc) and food waste to produce organic fertilisers but are limited in their capacity. Furthermore, there are few local, organic fertiliser producers which means that organic fertiliser supplies in Guadalcanal are limited.
At the official ceremony celebrating the start of this partnership, speeches were made by the Deputy Secretaries Technical for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL), Mr Michael Ho’ota; Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration (MCILI), Mr Erick George; and Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), Mr. Chanel Iroi; as well as the Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, His Excellency, Dr Lachlan Strahan.
Deputy Secretary Technical for MAL Mr Ho’ota said, “Limited organic fertiliser supply negatively affects the quality of fruits and vegetables which farmers can grow, and the speed at which they are grown. This partnership will help many farmers and gardeners to improve their crops and feed their families”.
In addition, due to limited shredding capacity, approximately 10 tonnes of green waste—largely generated at Honiara Central Market—is sent to the Ranadi Dumpsite every week. Deputy Secretary Technical Mr Iroi said, “Turning green waste into fertiliser not only helps the environment by reducing landfill but returns key nutrients back into our soils. This partnership will make a valuable contribution to our environment”.
Investing in organic fertiliser now may also have additional benefits in the future. This can include substituting imported, inorganic fertilisers, with locally-made organic fertilisers to keep profits and jobs in Solomon Islands. Deputy Secretary Mr George said, “Producing organic fertiliser creates jobs for Solomon Islands and improves farmers’ ability to sell more food. Moreover, this initiative may also lay the foundation for the organic certification of farmers in the future, and give farmers access to high-value export markets”.
Strongim Bisnis will help Zai Na Tina and Prosperity increase their capacity to shred commercial quantities of green waste and encourage farmers to increase organic fertiliser usage. Australian High Commissioner Dr Strahan said, “The Australian Government is proud to support this initiative which will help local horticulture businesses to sell more fertiliser; local farmers and gardeners to grow greater quantities of better quality food crops; and local markets to send their green waste to be recycled rather than to land fill”.
“This partnership demonstrates that the private sector has the capacity to drive sustainable economic growth in Solomon Islands. Australia looks forward to supporting more projects like this” Dr Strahan said.
Strongim Bisnis partnered with Zai Na Tina and Prosperity as part of its second phase of operations. Prior to COVID-19, Strongim Bisnis supported three sectors: coconut, cocoa and tourism. In 2021, Strongim Bisnis expanded its focus, and is now also supporting financial services, timber, horticulture and waste management value chains. Supporting women, youth and people with disability remains a central focus of the program. Strongim Bisnis’ partnerships with Zia Na Tina and Prosperity is an example of its work in the horticulture and waste management value chains.
Source: Strongim Bisnis