The British High Commission in Honiara yesterday (18th January) handed over millions of vegetable seeds and gardening tools to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands and Nauru, His Excellency Dr. Brian Jones handed over the more than 5 million vegetable seeds and about 618 gardening tools to the Ministry.
Handing over the items, High Commissioner Jones said:
Every new seed planted brings hope. And in 2021, a sign of hope for the future is even more important.
He said the UK Government is proud to support the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock replenish its stocks of vegetable seeds and garden tools, to ensure that they can support vulnerable gardeners across the provinces.
At this time of year, as we face cyclone season, a good supply of seeds is the best form of savings account in the rural areas. Even if a disaster hits and damages vegetable gardens, a supply of seeds can get people’s gardens growing again and restore food security. And as low-lying areas of Solomon Islands face uncertainty in the future from climate change, food security is ever more vital.
Dr Jones said 2021 will be a tough year, even as we see the shoots of our recovery from coronavirus worldwide.
I am pleased to support the Ministry in its agricultural extension work, ensuring people have access to good quality seeds and the tools to grow them, across the provinces of Solomon Islands.
Receiving the items, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Hon. Senley Filualea expressed gratitude to the people of Great Britain for seeing fit to donate seeds to the people of Solomon Islands through his ministry.
As you are aware, the Solomon Islands budget for 2021 is not yet decided on due to the many uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But our needs are still there and are many. The need to ensure our people can live through this pandemic times and the need to keep our economy afloat are great challenges for us at this time.
The challenges of the 2019 COVID-19 are still here with us in 2021. We were hoping that this year will be different but as you may have heard from the global news on status of COVID-19, it is increasing again. And despite some efforts on the availability of vaccines, we were also informed that it will take months before Solomon Islands can even have some vaccines available and the vaccine programs other countries are rolling out as well will take months, which means we will still have months of negative economic growth and food insecurity before we can all come out of this pandemic.
He said the gifts, are timely.
These are New Year gifts for our farming household around the country and I am honoured Excellency Dr. Brian Jones to receive these gifts on their behalf. “My ministry will ensure the distributions will reach far wide to all provinces in the country.
Hon. Minister Filualea on behalf of the DCGA government, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and people of Solomon Islands thanked the UK Government for the timely support to the people of Solomon Islands.