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MAL Committed To Deliver Sape & Varivao Food Bank Projects


The Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and
Livestock (MAL) remain committed to deliver Sape Farm and
Varivao Holdings Ltd National Food Bank projects despite
budget pressures brought to by Covid-19
pandemic.

Under the National Food Bank project, MAL to
support the construction of pack houses as storage rooms for
Cassava root crops for Sape Farm at Ngalibiu, North
Guadalcanal Plains and for Varivao Holdings Ltd at its
Ranadi site.

The projects were part of the
government’s initiative to support its (government) Food
Security Programme in the country. “…now we are focusing
on economic recovery so will increase production to export
more cassava and other root crops this year onward,” MAL
Permanent Secretary Ms Ethel Tebengi Frances said.

The
PS said that “since production of cassava increased in the
country, there are a lot of interests from international
buyers and so we will support our farmers to produce to that
interests, so yes, a lot of exciting times
ahead.”

“Implementation of the projects should
have been started last year, however, due to budget
limitations, it has been reprioritized and waiting for this
year’s development budget.”

Despite the slow
progress as the government processes and Covid-19 pressures
is concerned, MAL is devoted to deliver and would like to
thank both project recipients for their understanding and
patience. MAL also conveyed its gratitude to Sape Farm
management for its partnership with Varivao Holdings Ltd for
the export of cassava to Melbourne Australia last
year.

Deputy Secretary Technical of MAL, Michael
Ho’ota conveyed the appreciation in a hand over ceremony
of a new backhoe to Sape farm on 5th February to maximise on
productivity.

He said Sape Farm should have process
its own cassava for direct export but due to delay in
construction of a pack house storage room for the farm they
have to initially collaborate with Varivao Holdings for
export market.

Mr. Ho’ota assured that government
through MAL is remain committed and will make sure it
delivers the projects this year as soon as the 2021 national
development budget is blessed and ready for
implementation.

Meanwhile, Sape Farm managing
Director, Dr. Paul Bosawai Popora said they are taking the
alternative and partnered with Varivao due to the pack house
construction delay but thanked the government through MAL
for its boundless efforts and continuous commitment towards
the growth of agriculture in the country.

He said this
month (February) they are working in partnership with
Varivao to process and produce 14 tonnes of cassava for
export market.

“We have potential now on the ground
with more than 300 to 400 tonnes which about 400,000 kilos
of cassava where equivalent to about a value of $800,000
thousand dollars. If we go with close economics of cassava
multiply by 2 annually that’s about 1.6 million and then
multiply by 0.3 for government tax to improve our
economy.

“So there are lots of things we are yet to
do apart from what we see now on the ground,” he
said.

At the same time DST, Michael Ho’ota said
cassava is becoming one of the important upcoming industries
in the country adding the ministry is eyeing ways to improve
it in the future.

“Initially Sape farm was
established and supported by the government through MAL for
food security. We were worried last year that import of rice
could be stop because of Covid-19, and so, we quickly came
up with plans and develop cassava production here (sape
farm), so that if rice import affected we can still have
option on stable food to ensure everyone in town have
food,” Mr. Ho’ota emphasized.

Sape Farm has
expanded over the past 8 months and currently has 21
hectares of cassava and 20 hectares of potato on the
ground.

© Scoop Media

 



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