SHOTRLAND ISLANDERS BUY BOUGAINVILLE FOOD CROPS TO OFFSET SHORTAGE

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SHORTLAND ISLANDERS BUY BOUGAINVILLE POTATOES TO COMBAT SHORTAGES

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (June 9, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---A food shortage has forced Shortland Islanders in the Solomon Islands' Western Province to continue to buy potatoes from neighboring Bougainville, despite a ban imposed by the Solomons' government.

Under quarantine regulations, anyone found importing such commodities without the approval of the quarantine division may be fined $SI 3,000 ($US 641), the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reports.

A Shortland Islander, Martin Maeka, says residents are continuing to buy Bougainville potatoes because their food gardens were destroyed by insect pests during a long period of dry weather.

Several reports about the Shortland Islands' food situation have been submitted to the National Disaster Council, Maeka says, but there has been no response.

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