Located on the outskirts of Honiara, Gurafesu Farm is managed by a little over 20 youths of the Molotabi community in the Malaita Province.

What makes this farm special is that it was created with nothing and in response to the growing rates of unemployment in the Solomon Islands.

Project Coordinator Tom Daoni says Gurafesu Farm are today the organic producers and suppliers of cabbage, eggplant, kumara, cassava and bananas. The problem he adds, is meeting the demands in the market place which present an interesting set of challenges for the youths.

"Our location is a little tricky because we sit in between the Valley of April and Lau, so factors like flooding and infrastructure such as proper roads sometimes get in the way of having our produce delivered from the farm to the market place."

Previously occupied by the Livestock Development Authority (LDA) to raise cattle, Gurafesu Farm have recently begun a working collaboration with Kastom Gaden Association to help address their challenges.

Kastom Gaden Association's Pitakia Tikai says farms like Gurafesu not only help resolve urban drift youth unemployment but also retain if not increase traditional knowledge and skills in farming.

Following a site visit in July, Kastom Gaden Association will assist in trainings for Gurafesu Farm including farm management, farmer organisations, post-harvest management and value-adding.

"The youths are keeping our values alive and they are making the necessary efforts to secure the land title which will help them for the future. Our role at Kastom Gaden Association is simply providing practical assistance and technical support where we can."

Project Coordinator of Gurafesu Farm, Tom Daoni welcomed the support of Kastom Gaden Association and said they looked forward to working together.

Source: PIFON