Australian High Commission
Solomon Islands

Australia injects an additional AUD$15 million into the Rural Development Program

30 January 2015

Australia injects an additional AUD$15 million into the Rural Development Program

RDP community helper John Sisiolo (at right in black shirt) and finance officer Basilio Solevudu (in red shirt) inspecting a village water supply system at Batena village in Choiseul

Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to help improve the lives of Solomon Islanders living in rural areas, contributing funding of AUD 15 million for the Second Rural Development Program (RDP).

The Rural Development Program, led by the Solomon Islands Government with support from Australia, the World Bank, European Union and the International Fund for Agriculture Development, has assisted rural communities to improve village infrastructure and strengthen rural businesses since 2008. The second phase of the program will commence in 2015.

Australian Minister Counsellor for Development Sue Connell confirmed Australia’s ongoing support for the program at a signing ceremony yesterday.

“With more than 80 percent of Solomon Islanders living in rural areas, supporting communities to improve food security and create livelihood opportunities is critical,” said Minister Counsellor Connell.

“Australia’s additional support to the Rural Development Program ensures more Solomon Islanders can benefit from improved infrastructure in their village and increased productivity, income and job creation.”

Australia also supported phase one of the program which saw 367 rural communities benefit from infrastructure projects and supported the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to the deliver training for rural communities
Phase two of the program will aim to improve access to basic services in rural areas and to strengthen farming practices leading to increased production and productivity.

The program will benefit communities right across Solomon Islands, covering all 171 rural wards in the country, and providing them with opportunities to undertake small-scale infrastructure projects.

The program will also support innovative public-private partnerships in the agriculture sector to optimize economic growth and trade opportunities benefitting an estimated 95,700 farmers and rural business people.