Sape Farm’s success has resonated beyond “our borders” after it received external funding of $400,000 this morning from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The funds come under the ECAT (Enhanced Capacity for Agriculture Trade) through the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and facilitated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Honiara.
In delivering the funds, the Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Collin Beck, said Sape’s story is a national one which has seen them continue to plant cassava— and now doing it in a commercial way.
“It is an investment for our future especially as we deal with some of the challenges today (COVID-19 and climate change),” he said at the signing ceremony.
Beck explains that ECAT funding is enabled through WTO to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to prepare them for graduation from LDC status. Solomon Islands is to graduate from LDC in 2024. The ECAT funding assistance focuses on taro and cassava.
The owner of Sape farm and medical doctor Paul Bosawai Popora has commended and thanked the government for selecting his farm to benefit under the ECAT. Under the support, Sape will acquire several machines to the value of $400k for peeling, grating/dewatering including a cassava flour drier.
The funding will help Dr Popora and his farm to store frozen and grated cassava and have their own cassava flour.
Furthermore it would also boost their domestic market and exports which will start in 2022.
Since getting support from the government last year as part of it creating a national food-bank due to COVID-19, Sape farm has continued to grow. It now has 20 hectares of potatoe and 21 hectares of cassava.
Its production statistics showed last year they produced 20-25 tones (20,000Kg-25,000kg) of sweet potatoes per hectare and 30-35 tones (30,000kg-35,000kg) of cassava per hectare.
Sape was informally establish in 2017 purposely to engage the disengaged community.
Situated at the Ngalibiu area, Sape Farm is the biggest kumara and casava farm in the country with more than 30 employees.