3 May 2007

Solomons provincial premier says agriculture crucial for development

2:11 pm on 3 May 2007

The Premier of the Western Province in Solomon Islands says agricultural development is crucial for the area because most of its coastal communities have moved inland after last month's tsunami.

The government launched its first Agriculture Rural Development Strategy, which plans to provide rural areas with quality services and infrastructure as well as more opportunities to earn income locally.

The Western Province Premier, Alex Lokopio, says his area wasn't included in the strategy, until after the tsunami hit the province.

"Most of the people who have been living in the coastal area prior to the tsunami have decided to move up the hill and mountains, so most of these people will be engaged in agriculture activities and maybe for that reason, government sees this as most important. People are now very happy to see this new development of agriculture coming into our places and villages."

Premier Lokopio says financial assistance will also go towards the reconstruction of roads, homes and water supplies.