The Australian Federal Police (AFP) members deployed under the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and AFP Policing Partnership Program (RAPPP), and the Solomons’ International Assistance Force (SIAF) continue to support the local economy during the State of Emergency and COVID19 community transmission.

Over the next four years the RAPPP will enhance RSIPF infrastructure, with four building sites already completed and handed over to RSIPF this year. The arrival of SIAF members has increased the AFP’s investment giving an additional injection of advisory frontline assistance to RSIPF further enhancing the provision of the RAPPP’s ongoing technical policing advisory support.

As part of the AFP policing program many local Solomon Islands businesses, suppliers, contractors and labourers used to assist with program deliverables which resulted in additional injections of funds into the local Solomon communities and economy.

One of the key elements of the AFP’s RAPPP is partnerships; and supporting local businesses helps the Solomon Islands community build employment opportunities and the economy.

Recently with assistance from the Virtual Innovations Company and Baela Association, a farming co-operative, the AFP assisted local farmers, located outside the Honiara Emergency Zone (HEZ) to source fresh vegetables and fruit for SIAF members.

Steve, from Virtual Innovations Company, coordinated delivery of fruit, vegetables and eggs from communities. Steve said that the profits from the produce will complement the construction of a sanitation site built for the community by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) GEF Small Grants Programme.

He says purchasing fresh produce outside the HEZ helped ease the burden during the outbreak to many small farms.

Nelson, a local egg farmer said “It was a tough time for us due to the drop in numbers of customers at the Central Market and the difficulties we experienced in transporting daily harvests. This initiative helped distant farmers sell produce in a COVID safe manner and saved wastage."

Local pineapple farmer Wilfred said “The community transmission made it difficult to sell products in Honiara, this opportunity greatly assisted during that difficult time.”

RAPPP Acting Commander Clinton Smith said “Our experience living with COVID outbreaks in Australia has shown it can impact on communities in many ways and quite often it means many families, businesses and communities suffer financially.

“It is pleasing to find ways to help local communities through the recent COVID outbreak. The AFP continues to support the Solomon Islands community whilst we are here to assist the RSIPF. This has been a great opportunity to work with the local community and play a role in helping in tough times."

Source: RSIPF Media