The PNG Prime Minister’s focus on agriculture and tourism at home gets the support of the Chairman of SICCI as important growth sectors to be pursued in the Solomons.
The Chairman of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), Mr. Jay Bartlett, has said he supports the call made recently by the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, the Hon, James Marape, for Solomon Islands to focus on the Agriculture and Tourism sectors in order to grow and sustain the country’s economy.
Mr Bartlett said the vision the PNG Prime Minister had for his own country to develop Agriculture and Tourism were sectors Solomon Islands as a nation should also consider.
In a recent article published in the Solomon Star, Mr Bartlett was quoted as saying:
“Agriculture is a strategic growth sector for Solomon Islands given the vast natural resources, and as such, we look forward to responsible stakeholders working collaboratively to chart a course toward greater success in this sector.”
“There is a need for Government to engage and support our rural population since 85 percent of our population in the rural areas depend on agriculture and are already engaged in subsistence farming for their livelihoods.”
“SICCI further highlights as well that the Solomon Islands Government must commit resources and knowledge management to the productive and resource sectors to maximise value-added output and achieve greater and more sustainable economic growth.”
“Focusing on our productive and resource sectors is also important for food security; finding ways to improve local production, identify high-value crops that can be grown successfully locally, look at various options on how to increase local agriculture production that we can become self-sufficient in the future reducing dependency on imported produce.”
“Agriculture, Aquaculture and Tourism are sectors that are close to the lives of ordinary Solomon Islanders which offer great potential for growth and more importantly job creation considering the rate in which our population is growing.”
“For Solomon Islands, economic growth has relied excessively on logging but with the decline seen in the logging industry, agricultural exports can be a sustainable substitute and the same can be said of the other products and resources sectors.”
“Diversification will be instrumental in minimising the sensitivity of the country’s economy to negative economic shocks caused by external factors as in the case of climate change and changing weather patterns, as well as, sustainable reforestation and the transition from the extractive logging industry,”
Source: Solomon Star News.
PNG Prime Minister, Hon James Marape when speaking at the business luncheon in Honiara on Friday 28th February said (quote)
“The nation of Israel is small in landmass and their land is not arable like Solomon Islands. They (Israel) have rocks and deserts. Yet, Israel’s agricultural export is in billions to Europe using technology and their strategic close location to Europe.”
What Prime Minister Marape said in relation to the success of agricultural exports in Israel aided by technology, follows very much the views that I have often raised, especially in recent days when I mentioned Israel’s success in growing crops in brackish water and the conversion of barren ground into fertile crop producing areas.
The offer by Israel of 10 agricultural scholarships for Solomon Islanders should be highly beneficial if taken up and the knowledge gained put to effective practice at home.
Prime Minister Marape also spoke last week about the potential he saw for the Solomon Islands with aquaculture and a subject which earlier I mentioned could benefit from the practical assistance of the Netherlands where aquaculture is flourishing and big business.