The National Government congratulated rural rice farmers in the Guadalcanal Plains for a fine achievement in rice farming.

Farmers in Bare and Sape communities in North Guadalcanal on Friday celebrated their initial harvests after successfully implementing two separate Government Funded Rice Projects in the area.

The projects were made successful after at least six months of intensive community labour with joint generous technical support from staff of the Taiwan Technical Mission in Honiara and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Selwyn Riumana described the ceremonies as a "double success" both for the farmers and the National Government.

"The harvests today marked a fine achievement by the farmers that fulfills the CNURA government's rural development policy on Agriculture," he said.

The CNURA government's Rural Advancement Policy aims to improve the livelihood of rural dweller's which make up the majority of the country's population by encouraging and supporting people to participate in economic activities - one of which is rice production.

Once a rice producing country in the early 1980's, Solomon Islands today spend millions of dollars annually on imported rice to feed our growing population.

Rice is considered one of the principal foods in the country.

"The aim of the CNURA government is to reduce the current huge import of rice and save millions of dollars that can be spent on other areas that supports our economy," Mr Riumana explained.

The Republic of China (ROC) is a reliable partner in the Bore and Sape rice projects as well as several other rice projects around the country.

ROC Ambassador George Chan who officiated at the harvest ceremony said his government will continue to assist Solomon Islands grow its own rice as an alternative food security measure.

Mr Chan expressed satisfaction for fine achievement by the Guadalcanal Farmers and pledge to provide further assistance aimed at awakening Solomon Islands to become a rice producing country in the region that it once prides itself of.
The ceremonies were attended by Guadalcanal Premier Steven Panga, members of the Taiwan Mission and top government officials.

Final grains of rice are expected to generate income and meals for the farmers later next month.

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