The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) has enriched San Isidro Care Centre’s (SICC) farming capacity to produce more food with the donation of vegetable seeds and tools to the centre on 5th April 2021.

SICC is a rural training Centre for Special Needs or people with disabilities, located at Aruligo in Northwest Guadalcanal.

“This generous assistance will help increase our capacity to produce more food for the students and eventually for small market to help us in our economy sustainability,” Principal Sr. Maria Fe Rollo (SMSM) stated when receiving the donation from MAL team which comprised of officers from the Extension Department Headquarter and Guadalcanal Extension office and Planning Department.

“We are very grateful to MAL for this vegetable seeds and agriculture tools. Also recently we received a very generous help from MAL too through the livestock department poultry project, with a support of more than 200 layer chicks and feeds. These are very generous supports. I say generous, because it is not a learning tool for us especially for the students but it will more specifically help us improve our economic capacity and sustainability in the school/Centre,” Principal Sr. Rollo said.

Speaking on behalf of the Extension Department Director (Supervising), Director Planning of MAL, Peter Rarahabura said, “the reason why we are here today is not only to donate the support but to have a look at where are our potential areas in terms of providing food security in terms of future agriculture development.

“For so long MAL provide/ support individual farmers with tools but when we give that way it has no big impact as we have noticed over the years.

“So now MAL try to look at supporting organizations, farmer groups and institutions that can come together, and where MAL can work together with them to boost agriculture development, be it on livestock or crops,” Mr. Rarahabura explained.

He further said the Planning department, Land Use officers were also part of the team to look at the type of land system that we have with potential partners like San Isidro.

“This type of group (special needs) of people is a marginalize group that we sometimes do not assist them over the years and so today it paves way for us to work collaboratively.”

Meanwhile, Principal Sr. Rollo said San Isidro Care Centre depend too much on land for food for students and for their learning experience on how to make use of land resource.

“As a training Centre, it’s a big learning process for us to make use of our land. SICC is a training Centre for our young people especially with hearing and speaking disability (Special Needs) and we are very much dependent on the land, and our agriculture activities is a learning process but also as a way of living here providing food for students,” she said.

At the same time, Chief Field officer of MAL, Lily Wame thanked SICC for accepting the assistance and she said the assistance is part of the ongoing support programme of the ministry under the livelihood sector.

She says this is part of the Government Livelihood Sector initiative under Covid-19 Strategy for the Agriculture Sector to ensure farming groups and education institutions establish and expand their food gardens. 

She says that by focusing on early maturing vegetable seeds and basic farming tools there will be an increase in food production capability which should help subsidize food cost as aligned to the national government food security programme to counter the impacts of Covid-19.

The British High Commission office in Honiara donated the seeds and tools to MAL under its Livelihood Sector – Food Security Programme in response to the impact of Covid-19 to the farming community.

The Centre educates disabled young people from the ages of 14 and over, over a period of three years. Courses offered are English, Maths, Business, Sign Language, Agriculture, Life Skills, Carpentry, Woodwork, and Practical Trade and Skills.

The Centre's mission is to advocate for basic human rights for people with disabilities, the right to education and an opportunity to build their skills and self-esteem to enable a life of dignity and wellbeing.

The Centre registered 45 students this year alone and they came from various provinces across the country which include Temotu, Malaita, Makira, Western, Isabel and Guadalcanal province.

Source: MAL Media