Noni farmers learn together during field day, lauds MAL
A field day that offered excellent opportunities for Noni farmers in East Guadalcanal, Central Guadalcanal and Honiara suburb to share their experiences, sharpen skills and learn firsthand facts about noni crop/tree was successfully held on Monday 12th July 2021.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) through its Extension and Research Departments hosted the one day event at the T.W Enterprise Noni farm located at the former Livestock Development Authority (LDA) area in the outskirt of East Honiara. Total of 49 Noni farmers participated in the field activities.
Field day participants (farmers) learned practical methods on identifying pest and diseases, noni varieties and awareness, noni propagation or nursery, tree management, post harvesting and harvesting management and appropriate farm management.
The field demonstration activities were conducted to ensure farmers know how to manage their farms or noni trees for increase crop yield as well as the quality of their produce. Participants really admired the initiative.
Deputy Secretary Technical (DST) Michael Ho’ota said since Noni is a new crop, it is important that farmers get correct information about it from MAL research and extension officers to guarantee they know how to grow it sustainably in the country.
“Being a relatively new crop, MAL is challenged with having necessary agronomical information for Noni farming in Solomon Islands since it was not a crop under past governments list of priority crops for development and therefore no research has been done on the crop.
“…MAL research is to embark on agronomic research of this crop. Without research we will not be able to advice on how to sustainably grow this crop in our country. Initial assessment has highlighted several issues with regards to noni varieties, farming systems, planting methods, nutrient requirements, irrigation requirement, pest and diseases.”
Therefore, he said the field day was an opportunity for farmers to get correct information from MAL Research and Extension staff in addressing some of the issues highlighted adding other technical issues will be identified and resolved through research.
Deputy Director of Research Department Martin Jaiki thanked all farmer participants for being able to attend and make the field day a success.
“Without you farmers this event would not have been successful. Thank you everyone who have involved in organising this event.”
“Noni is a very new crop in the country and we farmers and agriculturists know very little about it (Noni). But through collaborative efforts of farmers and MAL we can develop and improve this crop based on technical and scientific knowledge as well as MAL supported trainings for farmers to bring up this new industry.”
He said that developing a new industry is not an easy undertaking but requires everyone’s (farmers, MAL and stakeholders) input to create a successful noni industry.
T.W Noni farm manger and owner, Tamra Wale also thanked MAL for choosing her farm as the demonstration field to carry out the field activities where she believed many farmer participants have learned a lot through the information and experiences that has been shared together.
She urged farmers to go back and apply what they have learned to their farms to boost their productivity.
Bernard Garo Chairman for Northwest Guadalcanal Noni Farmers Association (NWGNFA) acknowledged MAL for making the opportunity possible to make sure farmers have the chance to broaden and sharpen their knowledge on this cash crop.
“What happen today is not by chance. MAL is ordained to be here today. It is by Gods plan that we are able to be here today so that we can work together for this initiative of making Solomon Islands one of the most powerful country to be in this new industry, Noni.”
Mr. Garo also thanked farmers for making all sacrifices to be part of the event.
“You are the key people. Without you farmers, this industry will never happen. Your presence today gives signal to MAL to take on board this initiative and you will be the front liners in this industry.”
Deputy Secretary Technical (DST) Michael Ho’ota, Extension Director Andrew Melanolu, Planning Director Peter Rarahabura, Bernard Garo Chairman for North West Guadalcanal Noni Farmers Association (NWGNFA), senior officers of MAL Extension and Research Departments and Noni farmers from East Guadalcanal, Central Guadalcanal and Honiara outskirt attended the field day.