Workshop on approaches and tools to support the revitalization of land purchasing cooperatives
A workshop that presented and demonstrated relevant approaches and tools to support the revitalization of land purchasing cooperatives (LPCs) in Solomon Islands took place recently.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the Ministry of Trade, Immigration, Labor and Industry (MCILI) and a representative of the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and de la Famille (MWYCFA) participated in the virtual meeting organized by Julie Delforce Whitelum Group – project manager and consultant supervisor.
The virtual meeting aimed to present and demonstrate relevant practical approaches and tools to support the revitalization of land purchasing cooperatives (CLP), in particular; bring together the “market system” to help LPCs access new opportunities and Family Farm Teams (FFT), a team approach to farming activity. Both approaches are currently in use in Solomon Islands.
“All of these workshops were intended to help develop practical tools, communication materials and approaches that MAL and MCILI can rely on for their future work in supporting LPCs,” said Julie Delforce of Whitelum Group, consultant in project management and supervisor.
“This workshop was part of a series involving staff from MAL, MCILI, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Surveys (MLHS) and MWYCFA. It follows consultations with LPCs in Guadalcanal, Malaita, Isabel and the Western Province late last year, which resulted in the preparation of a detailed assessment report and a inventory database. Previous workshops have focused on land issues (with MLHS) and organizational options (with the MCILI Co-ops unit). All of these workshops were intended to help develop practical tools, communication materials and approaches that MAL and MCILI can rely on for their future work in supporting LPCs, ”Ms. Delforce said.
She thanked all participants for their active participation in the workshop, and in particular the Permanent Secretary of MAL Ethel Tebengi Frances for providing such strong leadership and support. “We wish you all the best of luck as you continue with this work. “
The Government of Canada has assisted the national government through the Ministry of Agriculture with technical financial assistance of CA $ 203,000 (approximately SBD $ 1 million) for the LPC revitalization effort.
The funding requested by MAL to support MAL’s vision to revitalize these LPCs, as this is where the country has had large cocoa and coconut plantations for years. With support from the Whitelum Group, MAL, in alliance with MCILI, carried out preparatory and research work which included reviewing the current state of farmer and marketing cooperatives in the country, recommending regulatory measures and policies that the government could take to support farmers through these cooperatives. , and carrying out a pilot activity to implement part of the recommendations of the report.
“These LPCs are part of the history of our agricultural sector and are described as ‘dormant resources waiting to stimulate agricultural development in the Solomon Islands,’ Ms. Frances said earlier.
She said the revival of the country’s LPCs is in line with the government’s current policy of growing our economy, creating jobs and improving the lives of our people.
Ms Frances said that as an island nation, it is difficult for Solomon Islands farmers to access markets, adding that cooperatives are a mechanism that can help farmers meet the challenges of accessing markets.
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