The Organic Backyard Gardening (sup-sup garden) activity that the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) is implementing has made impressive development.

The program was part of the Preparedness and Response Plan to counter Covid-19 impact under the Livelihood Sector Committee program.

“What really impressed me was the gratitude of the recipients towards the assistance they had received from MAL and that they actually planted out the seedlings and seeds in their gardens and are using the tools that were given to them. They had also stated that for them, this is the first time to have their own tools and it has tremendously assisted them in their farming activities,” Under Secretary Technical (Acting) of MAL and Chairman for the Livelihood Sector Committee, Michael Ho’ota said.

On 17 June this year - 2020, MAL distributed seedlings and gardening tools to households/farmers in Honiara and on the outskirt communities with the financial backing from the Australian Government (DFAT) in partnership with UNDP.
The initiative was purposely to encourage households to make gardens around their houses to subsidise food costs.

“We have visited the project recipients on Thursday 30th July and the progress we noted was impressive,” Mr. Ho’ota said.

He said that this an ongoing activity of MAL, however, with the increased funding support from the government (SIG) and donor partners - Australian Government (DFAT) and UNDP because of COVID-19, it enabled the ministry to extend and increase its activities more than during normal times.

“This activity will extend beyond State of Public Emergency (SOPE) areas to all the provinces, input and funding support are currently at the procurement phase,” Mr. Ho’ota added.

On planning assumption for Planning and Response Plan of the Livelihood Sector Committee Mr. Ho’ota said:

“In the event that a state of emergency is declared there may be a total lock down of Honiara. The livelihoods of the affected populations will be impacted in terms of food security, loss of income, labour and employment, access to markets and impacts on the business community (formal and informal). The farms visited come under the following activities in the Livelihood Sector Planning and Response Plan.”

On nursery and bulking sites establishment in the SOPE areas, Mr. Ho’ota said:

“All street markets in Honiara have been closed and the Honiara Central Market is now overcrowded and social distancing could not be practised in this situation.

“The planting material related activities aims to support Honiara residents and others to be self-sufficient by growing their own supply of vegetables and roots at their backyards or garden in the case of those who have access to land. This activity will operate from the newly established National Agriculture Research and Livestock Centre (Former Taiwanese Farm) at KG VI. Similar arrangement will be replicated in each provincial centres and possibly cluster communities.

“Planting Materials and early maturing seed will be procured and distributed to both homebased farmers and those who migrated back to their respective villages due to the COVID-19 State of Emergency declaration. The beneficiaries will be identified through the Agriculture Extension services in the respective provinces,” MAL Under Secretary Technical and Charmian of the Livelihood Sector Committee explained.

Australian Government (DFAT) in partnership with UNDP funded the program.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock is the project implementer.

Source: MAL Media Release