There is growing demand for fresh fruits and vegetables in Honiara, the capital city of the Solomon Islands, and growers are calling for support to boost productivity.
At the MK Farm, located in the interior of North West Guadalcanal, where guava fruit trees grow in abundance, owner John Maeli says while demand for guava has been growing in Honiara productivity levels has dropped. He says there are not enough trained farmers who have simple yet important skills such as nursery, planting and pruning of guava - which ensures good yield and harvest.
Maeli says to succeed as a farmer, especially if one wants to specialize in a single crop or fruit, good quality standards must be met. Maeli added that the demand for fruits like guava has been growing in Honiara, compared to previous years.
He says the kind of support farmers like him want is ongoing training, one that would help boost productivity. He also believes that there are other better high yielding guava varieties suited to the climate but requires research. He further claims that if local farmers are supported, there is a good chance more people will return to such healthy food and eating habits, particularly with the rise of non-communicable diseases or NCD.
Solomontimes.com quoted him as saying that the government needs to find ways to fill the gap and suggests that this be done through the Solomon Islands National University (SINU).