“Income earning activities is what we need to come our way as well”, says the women of Ngalipapa village in South Guadalcanal constituency.
South Guadalcanal is well known for its harsh conditions. ‘Tasi mauri’ or ‘live sea’ is how the people of Guadalcanal described the weather coast while the other side of the island where the capital city is located is referred to as ‘tasi mate’ or ‘dead sea’.
Ngalipapa is a small community tucked between the mountainous terrain of South Guadalcanal. Women in the village, like other villages in the region, do most of their gardening along the hill slopes.
“As you can see for yourself, we do not have big land nor flat land to do our gardening”, the women told Solomon Times Online.
Gathered in a circle around the recorder, the women shared the challenges they face in their community.
“Sometimes we do face hunger when we have low yield from our crops, due to heavy rain. Our area here is quite small unlike other villages that have bigger land space. We do plant cassava, taro, potatoes and vegetables. Only cassava and taro grow well here”, the women said.
Taro is one of the well-known crops in the weathercoast of Guadalcanal. Taro season is usually around November to December. Since the last yield, the women are now in the process of replanting taro.
“We do not go to Honiara to sell our crops. We mainly rely on subsistence agriculture. Because of the harsh condition of the weather and mostly because of the high cost for transportation, we just do not see the need to go to the market. We will not gain any profit at all by going to the market in the city”, the women said.
It usually cost them around $400 to get to Honiara. Overhead costs are so huge that it has put the women off marketing for good.
“We only sell on a small scale in the village or do barter systems. Enough for us just to earn money for soap, salt and other small items", the women said.
They say having access to infrastructure such as roads will be a better option for them, should they want to explore the idea of marketing.
"There is already a road from Marau to Kuma. If we can connect to this road and further on, getting our crops across will not be so much of a problem".
The women are now hoping for their Member of Parliament to support them with income earning activities.
“Projects such as poultry, selling of fuel etc. because we do not have good land to plant crops”, the women told Solomon Times Online.
Meanwhile, MP Rollen Seleso says income generating activities are part of his plans for the constituency.
“As stated in the constituency’s development plan, the investment arm of the constituency will be taking on these kinds of activities to earn money. Income earning projects like piggery, poultry, retail shops, fuel depot are forthcoming”, Seleso says.
He told Solomon Times Online these activities are well captured in his Development Plan 2019 - 2023 for the South Guadalcanal constituency.