Rural women farmers in the Guadalcanal Plains has expressed gratitude to the government through the Ministry of the Agriculture and Livestock for bringing market opportunities right down to their doorsteps.
This came after 44 cassava out-growers signed a partnership agreement with the government through MAL and Sape farm management on 17 July 2020.
“I see this partnership as an opportunity for us women,” Wendy Saki Besa’a told MAL Media in an interview on behalf of her other women colleague recipients.
Mrs. Besa’a was amongst the first fortunate 44 recipients who struck a deal with the government through MAL and Sape farm under the Sape farm out-growers scheme. Of the 44, ten (10) are women including Wendy Besa’a.
Under the Sape farm out-growers scheme, farmers will sold all their cassava and potato produces to Sape farm pack-house under the out-growers scheme farm gate.
“This is really a boost for us rural women farmers who often struggle to find market to sell our produces (cassava and potato).
“Market is always a challenge for us, but, that would be now a thing of the past. We thank the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) through MAL for recognizing one of our needs and for bringing market opportunity at our doorstep through this partnership initiative.
“This will really help us especially rural women in the Guadalcanal Plains and at the same time saves money and time than traveling to the Honiara Central Market to sell our cassava and potato produces.
“This is a direct benefit from government to the grass roots. Therefore, we thank the government for the approach, “Mrs. Besa’a said.
Mrs. Besa’a also recognised Dr. Paul Popora for the establishment of Sape farm.
She said that Dr. Popora sets an example that many hard working farmers out there should follow suit.
“Let us not be spectators, but, be initiators. Let us cultivate our God given land for our benefit.
“God always help those who always help themselves. We cannot just sit back and ask God to give. We must labour and show our part that we are ready to receive from God.
“If you what to become some body, you must work hard. Your efforts will get you to somewhere someday,” Mrs. Besa’a emphasized.
She also thanked the government through MAL for recognizing Cassava root crop as an industry.
“Cassava does not require hard labour like cocoa and coconut industry does.
“We are optimistic that this partnership will really change our livelihood and transform our standard of living.
“We are very close to Honiara but not every one of us have decent homes. This will improve our living standard and we will see us as assets and not liabilities. Cassava is our brown gold. We thank the Government for seeing the need to support us rural farmers through this initiative,”Mrs. Besa’a added.
The Permanent Secretary of MAL Ethel Tebengi Frances was excited with the partnership initiative and looking forward to working closely with Sape Farm management and the out growers and farmers around the country to grow the root crop and guarantee it recognized as an industry as MAL embarks on plans to revive the agriculture sector.
Meanwhile, Sape Farm Managing Director, Dr. Paul Bosawai Popora said the number of women who wants to be part of the out-grower scheme is expecting to increase in the future as many women has expressed their interest and wanted to register.
In May this year 2020, the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) and Sape farm management signed a 2.7 million funding support agreement that will see cassava root crop transform into an industry in the future.
The funding agreement and partnership is an initiative to support the government’s Food Security Programme. The funding support agreement will cater for farming machineries and tools, processing and refrigeration machines and working capital.