April 30, 2012
By Simon Chambers
In 2004, the Diocese of Ysabel, a PWRDF partner in the Solomon Islands, broke ground on a new farm on the island of Garanga. Over 18 months, they hacked 15 hectares of arable land out of the jungle. Since then, the farm has produced food for consumption and also food for sale.
The Solomon Islands doesn’t have distinct seasons- there is a mix of sun and rain all year, so crops can be grown year round in three month seasons. Local people work on the farm for a season to earn money to pay school fees for their children.
PWRDF contributes $15,000 a year to the farm””money that is used to pay labourers, construct buildings, and provide seed for the crops.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and President of PWRDF’s Board of Directors, recently visited the Garanga farm during a trip to the Solomon Islands. After his visit, he said, “This farm is about the land and its fruitfulness- up to four crops a year. The labourers are very faithful as they gather for worship every morning before they go to work. The support of PWRDF is absolutely critical to the ongoing life of this project.”
The farm has produced a variety of crops which maintains biodiversity, increases the fertility of the soil, and helps control pests. Coffee, eucalyptus, coconut, banana, papaya, corn, peanuts, and cocoa are among the crops produced at the farm. This year, the Garanga farm’s cocoa beans were selected to send to other countries as examples of the excellent beans produced in the Solomon Islands. The farmers also raise free-range chickens for meat.