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Workshop On Approaches And Tools To Support Revitalisation Of Land Purchase Cooperatives Held

A workshop that introduced and demonstrated approaches and tools relevant to supporting revitalisation of the Land Purchase Cooperatives (LPCs) in Solomon Islands was held recently.

Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Ministry of Commerce, Immigration, Labour and Industry (MCILI) and rep from the Ministry of Women, Youth Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA) participated in the virtual meeting hosted by Julie Delforce Whitelum Group- project management & supervisor consultant.

The virtual meeting aimed to introduce and demonstrate practical approaches and tools relevant to supporting revitalisation of Land Purchase Cooperatives (LPCs), specifically; bringing the ‘Market system’ together to help LPCs access new opportunities and Family Farm Teams (FFT), a team approach to the business of farming. Both approaches are currently in use in Solomon Islands.

“All these workshops were intended to help develop practical tools, communication materials and approaches that MAL and MCILI can draw on for their future work to support LPCs,” Julie Delforce from Whitelum Group- project management & supervisor consultant said.

“This workshop was one of a series involving staff of MAL, MCILI, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey (MLHS) and MWYCFA. It followed consultations with LPCs in Guadalcanal, Malaita, Isabel and Western Province late last year which resulted in preparation of a detailed Assessment Report and Stocktake Database. Earlier workshops focused on Land issues (with MLHS) and Organisational options (with MCILI Co-ops unit). All these workshops were intended to help develop practical tools, communication materials and approaches that MAL and MCILI can draw on for their future work to support LPCs,” Ms Delforce said.

She thanked all the participants for their active participation in the workshop, and in particular Permanent Secretary of MAL Ethel Tebengi Frances for providing such strong leadership and support. “We wish you all well as you take this work forward into the future.”

The Government of Canada assisted the national government through the Ministry of Agriculture with a technical funding assistance of CAD$203,000 (approx.SBD$1 million) toward the LPCs revitalisation effort.

The funding requested by MAL to support MAL vision to revitalise these LPC as is where the country has years of large cocoa and coconut plantations. With support of Whitelum Group MAL in alliance with MCILI carried out preparatory and research work which included the reviewing of current state of farmer and marketing cooperatives in the country, recommending regulatory and policy measures that the Government may take to provide support to farmers through these cooperatives, and carrying out a pilot activity to implement part of the report’s recommendations.

“These LPCs are part of our agriculture sector history and described as ‘Dormant Resources awaiting to stimulate agriculture development in the Solomon Islands,” Ms. Frances earlier said.

She said reviving the country’s LPC’s is in line with the current government policy of growing our economy, create jobs and better the lives of our people.

Ms. Frances said as a nation of islands it is difficult for Solomon Islands farmers to access markets adding Cooperatives are a mechanism that can support farmers address market access challenges.

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