Local farmers are bearing the brunt of the expanding Mamara housing development project.
Watercress farmers along the Mamara river bank have had their farms removed, with the lines of watercress being replaced with a security fence, keeping farmers out.
Dorine Mele is one such farmer, her watercress farm was removed, and company representatives say they will not be paying compensation for her loss as it is a private area.
“During our recent meeting with the company they told us that the company will not pay us anything, we were told just to remove our farm, they are putting up a security fence to block access to the river.
“I make close to SBD$1,000 per week farming watercress, this is my only source of income for a long time. My family depend on this income for our livelihood,” a visibly distraught Dorine said.
“I have no other option once they remove my river farm, being a mother, I know there will be huge challenges for me, this is the only way I can pay for my children’s school fees.
“Starting a new life will be difficult for me as a mother, because it will take time to start all over again.”
She says that while they are aware of the current Mamara development, she said the company should give them time to sell their produce, seeing that the actual development is still a long way off.
“The company should also consider buying what is left in our farms, this could help us start new small projects someplace else, they can also feed their workers with what we have at the farm."
Dorine says that the watercress farmers at Mamara are some of the main suppliers at the Honiara central market and Hotels in Honiara. She said soon there will be a noticeable decline in watercress supply in Honiara.
Metropolis Pacific Pty Ltd owns the exclusive development right of the new city proposed for Mamara. The Metropolis Mamara Development Ltd is the foreign investor tasked with managing the development of Mamara.
It is understood the company is targeting to build 1,000 to 1,300 houses for public servants, which is expected to be completed just before the 2023 Pacific Games.
Attempts to get comments from the company were unsuccessful.