Existing and prospective Noni farmers in the country are advised to seek technical advice from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL), through its extension department, if they wish to cultivate Noni as a commercial crop.

Noni Development Program Coordinator within MAL’s extension department, Selwyn Meplu, says many farmers are rushing into farming this new cash crop with little knowledge about it.

“Since Noni is a new crop, it is important that farmers get correct information about it from MAL’s research and extension officers to make sure they know how to grow it sustainably in the country,” Mr. Meplu said.

He said noni is a new crop so farmers need to educate themselves on the different noni varieties, farming systems, planting methods, nutrient requirements, irrigation requirement, pest and diseases.

He says it is important that farmers seek information and guidance from MAL on how to sustainably grow it in Solomon Islands to support their livelihoods.

He says growing noni in other provinces or parts of Guadalcanal province outside the catchment area of KG Noni Factory is, at this time, not advisable until such time a noni growing development strategy is developed and rolled out by relevant agencies.

“Noni development is a private initiative by Member of Parliament for Northwest Guadalcanal Hon. Bodo Dettke as a constituency Development program. Since then, interest has grown from farmers outside that constituency in recent years especially North East and Central Guadalcanal. Recently, farmers from other provinces are also enquiring about the crop with great interest,” Mr. Meplu explained.

He says because of such interest, in 2020, through MAL’s extension department, a Noni Development program was developed under its Sustainable Economic Growth and Export Strengthening (SEGES) programme.

The coverage at that time was in Variana, West Guadalcanal and Barande in East Guadalcanal. He says the reason for establishing the initial program on Guadalcanal was so that the harvested noni fruits reach the only noni processing factory in the country within 12 hours in order to maintain quality.

As part of its plans MAL, through its extension and research department, staged a successful Noni field day at T.W. Enterprise Noni Farm located at the former Livestock Development Authority (LDA) area in the outskirt of East Honiara.

The field day attracted 49 farmers from East Guadalcanal, Central Guadalcanal and Honiara suburbs to share their experiences, sharpen skills and learn firsthand facts about noni crop/tree.

Mr. Meplu said the field day was the first of its kind and an important one for farmers to learn and share experiences together regarding noni husbandry.

“The field day demonstrations are important for the farmers, because the noni agronomical issues faced by noni farmers are identified and highlighted in actual situation out in the noni field by specialised technical professionals rather than in the office or classroom training.

Also, less time is required to reach more farmers by addressing their common problems and issues regarding their noni farming,” Mr. Meplu added.

Mr. Meplu on behalf of MAL applauded and acknowledged the noni farmers that attended the successfully staged Noni Field Day at T.W. Enterprise Noni Farm. He said without the farmer’s presence, the field day would not have achieved its aims and objectives.

Developing the Noni industry and others like kava and cassava is one of the key policy priority of the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) therefore the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) remains committed to it.

Source: MAL Media