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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 19) - A top Taiwanese Agriculture specialist and Assistant Secretary General of the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) strongly believed that Solomon Islands could successfully follow Taiwan’s footstep in agricultural development.

Dr. Pai-po Lee who had successfully established several rice projects in the country said Solomon Islands is one of the largest countries in the Pacific and it has more suitable land for agricultural development.

He told Government Communications Unit that Solomon Islanders are highly self-sufficient people, a very suitable feature for agricultural development.

"I think the Solomon Islands has the potential," Lee said. "The first one, I think is the self-sufficiency of the Solomon people which is the most important part for the environment and natural resources, as the Solomon Islands is a larger country following Papua New Guinea and the Fiji Islands. I think you have more arable land than other neighboring countries, such as Nauru, with only 20 square kilometersRelative to other Pacific island countries, the Solomon Islands is considered quite big," Dr. Lee said in Taiwan last week.

Agriculture has been one of the previous foundations of Taiwan’s economy before its transformation into manufacturing and technologically based economy today.

Early attempts by Australian and American experts to increase rice production in Solomon Islands were unsuccessful.

However, Taiwanese experts are actively engaging in boosting the rice industry with their technology and knowledge in many parts of Solomon Islands.

"Now, our experts carry out rice projects in the Solomon Islands which are very successful. So, we’d like to encourage rice production for your local people and self-sufficiency of optimal production."

"This is for food security and is the highest priority of Solomon Islanders," Lee said.

He added that the assurance of self-sufficiency would later allow for surplus in the commercial or business industry.

"I think this is the second stage of the business development," he said.

Lee and other members of the Taiwan ICDF has actively involved in organizing a two-week media workshop for 53 journalists and media professionals around the world which concluded last week.

July 20, 2006

Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

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