IFAD and the Solomon Islands invest in rural communities
Rome, 7 May 2015 – A US$62.5 million national programme supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), will reduce poverty and help to develop the agriculture sector in the Solomon Islands. The programme will revitalise the agricultural sector, build small-scale infrastructure and create income opportunities for over 68,000 poor, rural households.
IFAD is providing $4.5 million to finance the Rural Development Programme (Phase II).The financing agreement was signed today at IFAD headquarters in Rome by Mckinnie P Dentana,
Under Secretary of Economics, Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Solomon Islands, and Michel Mordasini, Vice-President of IFAD.
Chase Palmeri, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Solomon Islands, stressed the need for the funding: "As much as 80 per cent of the population of the Solomon Islands lives in rural areas, and about 25 per cent of inhabitants are unable to meet their basic needs. Farmers lack links to markets and rural communities lack essential infrastructure and services. The islands, located in the pacific 'Ring of Fire' are also prone to earthquakes and erratic weather patterns, making sustainable livelihoods even more difficult to achieve."
The national programme will cover all nine provinces. Specifically, it will support smallholder farmers who produce commodities, such as cocoa and coconut, to partner with agri-businesses to add value to agricultural products and create jobs.
It will also invest in community-managed small-scale infrastructure to provide basic services such as roads, bridges and docks. The financing agreement includes funds specifically designated for disaster recovery assistance. These will be used to rebuild the Guadalcanal communities that were heavily affected by flash floods in 2014. All infrastructure investments will incorporate measures to mitigate future effects of climate change and natural disaster.
The 550,000 people living in the country face huge constraints as they are scattered over 90 islands and far from neighbouring countries.
"Rural communities in the Solomon Islands face multiple challenges. People have limited access to land, limited opportunity to earn a viable income from agriculture and are often living in remote areas," said Palmeri. "The national programme will expand the agricultural sector and invest in climate-proof infrastructure that will support rural communities and allow rural businesses to flourish."
Since 1984, IFAD has invested a total of $11.6 million in four programmes and projects in the Solomon Islands, with a total cost of over $107 million, including co-financing, reaching over 179,300 households.
Press release No.: IFAD/30/2015
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided nearly US$16.6 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 445 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agriculture hub.