Over thirty farmers of the Auki Market Vendors Association (AMVA) in Malaita Province has successfully completed an agricultural input demonstration and training conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) on 30th March 2021.
Held at Radefasu Community in Central Kwara’ae, the demonstration-training was made possible through UNDP Market 4 Change (M4C) Project support and conducted by MAL Coordinator National Agriculture Livelihoods Improvement & Export Based Expansion, MacDonnell Hiva and Machine Operator Moses Misi.
The hands-on training focused on showing farmers how to safely operate walking tractor power tiller and a garden base power tiller. This included identifying the tillers major parts and functions, how to start the tillers, operating the tillers to plough and till the land, and basic machine care and maintenance.
Farmers also attended a field demonstration where they were able to operate the tillers themselves in trial ploughing and tilling activities with MAL Machine Operator Moses Misi.
This was the first time for many of the farmers to see and use a power tiller machine and the training was crucial to prepare them to use the machines to boost their farming activities.
Speaking on behalf of the Auki Market Vendors Association Francis Fa’alimae said the Association is happy to take ownership of the machines and learn how to use the machines for ploughing in their farms from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
“Before we used basic agriculture tools like knife, hoe and bars and now we will use the tillers. This is new knowledge for AMVA members and will move us to another level in our farming”, he said.
“What we learnt today will help us in the future. We will see our crop production will increase.”
Meanwhile, MacDonnell Hiva of MAL encouraged AMVA farmers to continue their cooperation and ensure the sustainability of the machines.
“The responsibility to manage, organize and lead members – especially farmer members – is now on your shoulders,” he said.
“The Ministry wants to see how best AMVA farmers will use the power tillers to their benefit and show good results from the use of these machineries.
“Use the machines, manage it well and achieve something out of it.”
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in partnership with UNDP Markets for Change Project procured the agricultural inputs via the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi Partner Trust Fund in 2020. These included walking tractor power tillers, base power tillers, chainsaws and grass cutters all sourced from agricultural machinery suppliers in Honiara.
MAL beneficiaries were identified under its National Food security and Enhancement program (Model Farm Project). Markets for Change Project beneficiaries are the Auki Market Vendors Association, Gizo Market Vendors Association and the Honiara Market Vendors Association.