BY MYRNE LIVETT
RURAL FARMERS in Central Guadalcanal have called on political leaders, government leaders, Chiefs and educated leaders in the community to help cocoa farmers in the villages by boosting agri-business at the community level.
Lemuel Bobby and Elihu Veke of Kaimomosa village, in the Malango area of Central Guadalcanal, raised the concern calling on responsible leaders and government authorities to consider assisting farmers in improving their income earning agricultural activities, in the post-COVID era.
“Why our leaders in the government are silent, when it comes to everyday issues that affect rural farmers, especially for us smallholder cocoa farmers, we need good markets, maybe they can assist us in exporting our cocoa beans overseas for better income,” Bobby pointed out.
“As for me, I’m facing continuous challenges on how well I can manage my cocoa plot,” He said.
My plot is situated close to a stream, and the trees look healthy and bear fruits in the first years of harvests, but then later leaves turned brown and withered.” He explained. “But then I observed some positive changes happened after a rain, the trees bloom with more green leaves again. But not after heavy rain and flooding,” He further explained.
“That’s why I’m asking also the ministry of Agriculture to visit us so that we can discuss how to cope with this challenge. But then who we also need people who can arrange that, which I think should be our leaders, in the government and at the community level.”
Meanwhile, Mr Veke and Bobby want leaders of central Guadalcanal to consult cocoa farmers and meet together to form an association. They said any financial support and projects from the government would be for the benefit of an association of farmers, not individuals only.
Mr Veke, a tribal elder, also commented on the present community leadership level in central Guadalcanal. He said, leaders in the community today are weak in terms of organising and creating economic reform for people in the rural area to step up in economic activities.
“Leadership in the rural area is weak, those who want the title, I think they are not playing their role,” Veke observed. They are not active, so we don’t know who really are the leaders in our communities, especially here in Malango.” Veke pointed out.
“We recognize and respect the Chief title, but people are expecting them to perform. There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed in this area, the land issue, vision for the youths, and the generation that will rise up later. And management of our people.”