Barana market fair is said to be a success for women of the community.
Located uphill on the fringe of Honiara’s border, Barana boasts the biggest forest conservation site on Guadalcanal.
It is rich in heritage especially with WW2 relics. It was also known as the Queen Elizabeth Park.
In the past, owners of the land used to allow logging to take place further up in the hills.
Nowadays most of the villagers only talk of conservation and subsistence agriculture. Logging is hoped to be a thing of the past.
In 2017, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), through its Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC) project carried out an ecosystem and socio-economic resilience analysis and mapping (ESRAM) study in Honiara.
Barana was identified as a project site as it demonstrates the use of ecosystem based adaptation (EbA) in watershed management through forest conservation.
In its initial stages, an environment and resilience resource centre was built for the community by SPREP PEBACC Project.
This centre is used as a space where community members can come together for discussions to make decisions for the betterment of the community.
One such discussion that came from the centre and is now gaining momentum is the establishment of a ‘mere fair market’.
Melinda Kii from Barana said this is an initiative to support the women in income earning activities.
“Produce sold at the market are mainly from the women’s gardens. The women usually go down to the border to sell their produce but there are also many other vendors there. Most times the women come back with their produce. But with this initiative, Honiara residents have the option to come up to our community to get fresh produce which is of good quality,” Ms. Kii said.
Promotion of their monthly market event is normally shared via social media.
With the creation of Barana’s new Facebook page, this has boosted the community’s presence among residents in Honiara as well as overseas.
While freely allowing Honiara residents to enter their community, they are also guarded by the advices given by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS).
Customers are encouraged to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At first we thought we would not have a good turnout but we thought wrong. By 3pm, all the produce was sold!” Ms. Kii said.
Initially the market was supposed to be held once a month only.
But with the demand for fresh vegetables, the women decided to continue with the market as and when there is demand from customers.
Prior to Easter weekend, the women set up their market purposely for the wife of the Governor General of Solomon Islands.
“We are very proud that Lady Vunagi chose to visit our market. Coming especially from such a high office means that our market is proving to be a success”, Ms. Kii said.
Now with the closure of satellite markets in Honiara city, road side markets have also sprung up outside of the city boundaries.