Last year the World Foods Day was successfully launched Gizo, October 2012. It was co-host by the Kastom Gaden Association, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and Lodurimata Farmers Association.
World Foods Day is celebrated globally on the 16th October each year to mark the global action against hunger. This year world food day theme is ‘Agricultural Cooperatives – Key to feeding the World’
Kastom Garden Association was represented by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees – Moses Pelomo, Claudine Watoto – PSO Capacity Buiding, Moses Rouhana – PSO Planning and Information and a Plant Clinic Team Thecla and Rita. KGA was fairly represented at the World Food Day in Gizo because it was co-hosted by the Lodurimata Farmers Association, a partner with KGA .
Activities of the day include a float through Gizo town, official launching of the world food day, demonstration of varieties of food crops and a radio talk-back show through the Radio Happy Lagoon.
To kick start the launching, farmers were assembled near the hospital compound and marched through Gizo town to the JF Kennedy Stadium. Farmers in uniform holding posters and banner and representing the nine zones affiliated to Lodurimata lead the march.
The keynote address was delivered by the Hon Premier of the Western Province Mr. George Lilo, highlighting the key to achieving food security is to support and invest in cooperatives, producer organisations and other rural institutions. “We believe that smallholder farmers will provide much of the extra food needed to feed the rapid increase population in the Solomon Islands”.
He added that cooperatives contribute to food security by helping small farmers and other producers access the information, tools and services they need. This will allow them to increase food production, market their goods and create jobs, improving their own livelihoods and increasing national food security. Agricultural and food cooperatives are already a major tool against poverty and hunger. He encouraged Lodurimata farmers that they are not alone but they are part of the one billion members of cooperatives worldwide participating in production, selling, saving and income –generating activities. More importantly, you are a global partner striving to find alternatives to the challenge of the impact of climate change in food security.
Amongst the speakers during the launching were Moses Pelomo, Chairman of Kastom Garden, Chief Field Officer Extension for the Western Province and the Chairman of Lodurimata.
Various speakers highlight the need to take further step in our combined effort to break the vicious cycle of food insecurity. They urge farmers to mobilise their family, friends and community that when each one of us does their part they can reduce hunger in their communities and our nation.
A memorandum of understanding was established between the KGA and the Radio Happy Lagoon to enable Lodurimata Farmers communicate with their farmers on weekly basis through a radio program. Initial funds to start the program have also been handed to Adrian Sina, manager Radio Happy Lagoon during a special ceremony. The first program was aired during the launching. Kastom Garden Staff, Lodurimata management and the Agriculture information officer took the first opportunity to appear as panel for the talk-back radio show with assistance from the Radio Happy Lagoon Manager.
After the official launching, guests were allowed to visit stalls to witness varieties of food crops and planting materials put on show for guests to see. Demonstration on how to make koki stove were also the highlight of the show.
Invited guests to the world food day include a representative from Ausaid. KGA Chairman thanked in particular the Ausaid representative that without financial assistance given by Ausaid, KGA and Lodurimata Farmers Association will not be in a position to participate to this extend as we witnessing right now.
KGA through its Plant Clinic program has also occupy a stall during the show. A lot of farmers have shown their interest in identifying pest and diseases that affects their food crops and treatments that are available locally.
Lodurimata Farmers Association (LFA) is one of the KGA partners and most of them are active members of the KGA Planting Material Network (PMN). They represent various communities from Kolombangara, Gizo, Vellavella, Simbo, Ranonga and the Shortland Islands. LFA have also adopted their constitution with the assistance and guidance from Claudine. New office bearers to administer LFA were also elected during the meeting.