BY MYRNE LIVETT
KASTOM GARDEN Association’s (CGA) backbone, the Pacific Islands Rural Agriculture Stimulus Facility (PIRAS) Project has lapsed last week, August 31st as project implementation reached many rural farmers in Central and Western Provinces.
However, KGA according to the initial plan, is yet to introduce the same agriculture activities to the people of Shortland Islands and Choiseul province.
Ms Lodu Esther of KGA told Isles Media last week that one of the successful programs carried out by KGA in the selected rural communities is called ‘Diversity Fair’.
“After we carried out survey and monitoring, we organized the diversity fairs, she said, “We started in Tulaghi, Central Island province in June this year, which collided with the province’s second appointed day celebration. However, KGA presented tokens to the two farming groups involved.”
“Our second diversity fair was held at Gizo town, in July and that was the best one.
“I saw the Gizo event as the best diversity fair because it included three sites or groups coming together at one location. They are Gizo Island farmers, Ringi and LKB farmers from Kolobangara Island.
The third diversity fair was held at Lokuru in Rendova western province last month.
During those diversity fairs, farmers brought their farm and garden produce and showcased them to the public. Farmers also demonstrated and shared their skills and knowledge.
Lodu said Kastom Garden demonstrated seed serving, and how to make compost and liquid manure. Also on cash crops such as Cocoa, Coconut and Kava for farmers to learn about what KGA is introducing to rural farmers.
She said future diversity fairs need improvements, and that program coordinators have to get farmers to prepare well before a diversity fair. Farmers must prepare venues and arrange their varieties of products in indifferent stalls to make them more attractive.
She pointed out that Shortlands Islands and Choiseul will wait for any future project funding, indicating that in case donors may understand shortfalls and provide more funds.
“PIRAS Project was launched by Australian High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Ethel Frances at Kastom Garden in Honiara in March.
PIRAS supports economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in the Pacific, including the Solomon Islands, through improved income generation, food security and nutrition for rural communities.” A statement from the Australian High Commission stated.
The project was implemented by Pacific Islands Farmers Organization Network (PIFON) through KGA, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the Australian Government.