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Solomon Is. and Taiwan Renew Agriculture Agreement

Date: Tuesday 16 September 2008

Gov't And Taiwan Renew Agriculture Agreement

A renewed commitment between the governments of Solomon Islands and Taiwan (ROC) will see more collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) and the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) in agricultural and livestock production.

The bilateral agreement, signed by the Acting Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Hon Martin Maga and Taiwan's Ambassador, HE George Chan, will cover more enhanced cooperation in the areas of small pig, rice farming and marketing, introduction of crop varieties, seed production, poultry farming and training.

Called the Agreement of Agricultural Technical Cooperation between Solomon Islands and Taiwan, the agreement resulted from the ongoing review of the commitment between MAL and TTM since cooperation was first established in 1983.

The agreement has been reviewed seven times since its inception, and the current agreement was achieved after intense consultations between MAL and TTM during the recent months.

According to Minister Maga, the agreement is "a milestone and of far-reaching importance to the Government and people of Solomon Islands" and it demonstrates another firm commitment by both governments in this area of common interest.

"This Agreement will add immense opportunities to further the development and production of agricultural food crops, given the current prevailing circumstances on the soaring food prices particularly rice", Mr Maga said.

"I have all the confidence that through this close cooperation between the governments of the Republic of China and Solomon Islands, inclusive of other donor collaborators, it will not be too long for us to realize the road to self-sufficiency in food production in this country".

Taiwan's Ambassador to Solomon Islands Ambassador George Chan, was equally optimistic of the positive benefits of the agreement.

"Under the new Agreement, we will continue our previous efforts in the screening and introducing crop varieties, seed production, training, demonstration, extension and marketing of rice, small-scale pig farming and poultry raising", Mr Chan said when giving his remarks during the signing ceremony at the TTM King George Sixth Farm.

"We will also give new emphasis to the strengthening of the technical assistance in pursuing study for food processing and value-adding, initiating commercial rice farms development, introducing new fruit trees and providing know-how on farmers association and cooperation", Mr Chan added.

Solomon Islands is a member of the global community and no way to escape the big challenges of unbearable food prices, but the crisis of rising food prices may also offer the opportunity for Solomon Islands to utilise its natural environment, good weather conditions, fertile lands and abundant water resources for the development of agriculture and livestock, Ambassador Chan said.

Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Henry Pika said the new Agreement is a good opportunity for the rural people of Solomon Islands to utilise the services and expertise from TTM to increase their output of agricultural products.

"Under this new agreement, we have a very broad program whereby we are going to engage the TTM in every province to actively participate in our programs of livestock and crop farming. So far, we have been actively involved in eight (8) provinces under this agreement."

Mr Pika said rice farming and marketing, a significant aspect of the agreement, has been getting a lot of interest among farmers in the provinces.

Mr Pika said TTM will also be actively involved in the implementation of the $25 million rice project allocation on the Government's Supplementary budget.


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