Planting seeds for the future – Agriculture Training for Tina communities

The Gender Action Plan (GAP) program has again delivered another successful agriculture training program in Ngongoti, Mbahomea, aimed at enhancing sustainable farming practices and promoting gender equality in agriculture. The training, held from 8th to 11th April, brought together a total of 31 enthusiastic participants from various Tina River catchment communities such as Mbahomea, Malatoha/Malango, and Belaha. 

The attendees, comprising 25 women and 6 men, engaged in a four-day intensive program facilitated by Kastom Gaden Association (KGA) technical experts. The primary objectives of the training were to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to transition from slash-and-burn methods to organic farming, understand soil improvement techniques, master seed drying and saving processes, promote healthier diets through agricultural practices, and ultimately, empower them to generate income through the cultivation of high-quality garden produce. 

Over the four training days, participants gained practical hands-on experience by site clearing and plot marking in preparation for digging and planting. They also learnt about nursery management by seed sowing, bed/box preparation, and how to extract different types of seeds.  Pest and disease management was also covered as well as soil management and compost making.  

Helen Dolaiano, Gender Officer for the Tina River Hydropower Development Project Office, commented that although these women and men are already farmers, it is significant for them to attend such training when opportunity is available.  

“There are simple agriculture farming techniques and steps that we often ignore and when one attends this kind of training, they appreciate what organic farming is and how to better improve techniques such as getting the right measurements in spaces for planting.”  Ms Dolaiano goes on to say that the training is to not only fostered practical learning skills but to also emphasized the importance of sustainable agricultural practices for healthy living and gender inclusivity in the farming sector.  “By empowering both women and men with these vital skills, the GAP program aims to create a more resilient and equitable agricultural community for rural farmers and families that reside in the Tina River Hydropower Development Project area,” she added.  

The Gender Action Plan (GAP) Program, which commenced in 2019, has positively impacted hundreds of people through training and skill development, predominately investing in the lives of rural women and girls.  Under the Tina River Hydropower Development Project, GAP will focus on continuing to deliver livelihood programs for community people within the project communities to help women, girls, youths and men to be able to improve their lives and make positive changes.  

The Tina River Hydropower Development Project is being implemented by the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) with financing and support from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Asian Development Bank, the Government of Australia, the Green Climate Fund, Korea EX-IM Economic Development Cooperation Fund, and the World Bank. The GAP initiative is a positive example of a SIG investment that is responding to local women’s needs and helping stimulate rural economic development

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