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Honiara, Solomon Islands – Kastom Gaden Association works with Solomon Island communities to improve food security through supporting farmer to farmer extension and networks, supporting family nutrition and encouraging self-reliance and sustainable, organic food production for the family first and then for local markets.
Today at 10’clock Solomon time, Kastom Garden Association launched the Pacific Island Rural and Agriculture Stimulus Facility – PIRAS which aims to target women and young farmers who were affected by COVID-19.
PIRAS is a joint partnership announcement between the Network, the Australian Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), it was highlighted that the overall PIRAS initiative will directly target rural households vulnerable or potentially vulnerable to nutrition insecurity, while also maximising potential and driving productivity in food and nutrition security, safe post-harvest handling, local food preservation and functioning local markets.
Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands – Dr Lachlan Strahan said that farmers in every society perform such an important role, they are the backbone of any country.
“Today we are here to launch PIRAS, we are very proud to be here with other partners. No society can survive without food, so farmers play that vital function of not only feeding themselves but of course providing food for any nation and for export,” says Dr Strahan
He explained further by saying PIRAS is about making sure that the livelihoods of small holder farmers are re-enforced, also helping them during tough times. Climate change is affecting many farmers by altering rain fall patterns that is having a big impact on farms. We are now into our third year of the global pandemic, COVID has been like a racking ball to the world and unfortunately, we are not yet through with the pandemic. Solomon Islands have suffered tremendously which is why we need to reach out to the most vulnerable especially women and youths who mostly get the rough deals during hard times.
PIFON’s Program Manager; Lavinia Kaumaitotoya shared that PIFON is an information network connecting farmer organizations who then work with their farmer members to make Pacific Farmer Organisations more vibrant, viable and a sustainable organization.
IFAD’s Sub-Regional Coordinator – Sakiusa Tubuna in his presentation mentioned that we in the Pacific are extremely blessed to be receiving funds from IFAD for the PIRAS initiative and this is complemented by the generous donation of the Australian Government.
Tony Jansen of Kastom Garden Association concluded the launch virtually by saying the KGA approach is led by local farmer experts and looking into the market system and income opportunities. The PIRAS Project looks into assisting approximately more than 1,000 farmers to have new and sustainable income opportunities from various agriculture products.