Posted by : Posted on : 30-Apr-2020

A speculative claim that Cassava and Taro farmers could be getting a financial grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Closely following on the recent news that the Solomon Islands  government has reportedly promised an economic stimulus package which it is said will boost agriculture, fisheries and tourism, as well as Small-Medium Enterprises, comes an unsubstantiated revelation in today’s Island Sun newspaper that some local cassava and taro exporters could be on their way to receiving S$100,000 assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Writing the background to the story, Eddie Osifelo outlined the following.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) shortlisted some candidates at the deadline for application last Friday (April 24).

The lucky candidates could receive $100,000 assistance from the Ministry.

Reliable sources told Island Sun, a Committee is expected to meet to decide the recipients of the grant.

We are not sure how many people will receive the $100,000 and the project is expected to roll out around May,” reliable sources said.

In 2010, former Foreign Affairs Minister and now Minister of Communication and Aviation, Peter Shanel held bilateral talks with Canada on the possibility of exporting cassava.

It is still not sure whether Solomon Islands has exported any cassava to Canada to date.

The cassava export markets are primarily in Europe and North America, which includes Canada. There are a number of important but smaller markets in Asia, such as Japan, Korea and China.

According to the MFET website, the Ministry is responsible for implementing the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Programme in Solomon Islands.

EIF is a multi-donor programme, which supports Least Development Countries (LDC) to be more active players in the global trading system, by helping them tackle their supply side constraint to trade.

The EIF national Implementation Unit (NIU based at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) is responsible for the implementation of the EIF programme/ projects in Solomon Islands.

The EIF NIU is currently implementing two (2) EIF supported projects, known as the EIF Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects.

The Tier 1 project is on strengthening of national institutional capacities related to Trade while the Tier 2 project is on supporting / helping LDCs integrate better into the global trading system in a way which contributes to poverty reduction and sustainable development.

The recently approved Tier 2 project (ECAT) is aimed to expand economic and employment opportunities through systematic interventions in selected agriculture value chains and associated trade and promotion activities and is under implementation.

Last week the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock signed a SBD $2.7 Million funding agreement with the management of SAPE Farm representative, Dr. Paul Bosawai Popora, to further support the farm with mass commercial production of Cassava and Potatoes.

The SAPE farm is based in Guadalcanal Plains in North Guadalcanal.

Note this is an unsubstantiated story, as outlined in the Island Sun newspaper.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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