SOLOMONS PLAN TUNA PROCESSING PLANT IN TENARU

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Facility would provide hundreds of jobs

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 3, 2008) – The Solomon Islands government intends to put a tuna loining factory in Tenaru as part of its present push to bring development to the rural people.

Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Nollen Leni said this at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between three parties on Thursday.

The parties are: the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Lungga &Tenaru Land owning groups and the Guadalcanal province.

The signing also coincided with reconciliation between the Landowning groups of Ghaobata, Bahomea, Malango and the National Government.

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua was also present at the occasion at Red Mansion to witness the event.

Mr Leni said the proposed loin factory will pave the way for employment opportunities in the province.

"We believe when the factory is up and running it will create job opportunities to hundreds or even thousands of Solomon Islanders.

"The spin of benefits of this development in the area cannot be ruled out," he said.

Mr Leni said the development of the loining factory also signalled a shift in our fisheries policy in terms of providing access to foreign fishing companies.

We want to promote fisheries development in the country and reduce access to foreign fishing companies.

"The development of Tenaru loining factory is a step in this direction.

"By increasing fisheries development here, we will have a better share of benefits from the resources we have in our waters.

"I am glad the MOU is the beginning of a new journey," he said.

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua said his government supports the idea of establishing the project as part of its rural advancement policy.

He thanked the landowners for allowing their land for the project.

Dr Sikua urged the three parties to honour their commitment and responsibilities.

"Failure by one party to comply with its commitments will delay and could even jeopardize the eventual success of this undertaking," Dr Sikua said.

"I therefore appeal to all parties to faithfully honour their commitments," he said.

Guadalcanal Province Premier, Stephen Panga, said as the host for the proposed tuna loin factory project, his province welcomes the move.

"The reconciliation marks a very important step in the process," Mr Panga said.

"The success of this important project will depend on the cooperation and support of landowners who must play a significant role in the project.

"The project is the first of its kind in the country and my government is committed to ensure it’s successfully achieved."

Mr Panga urged the government to quickly push for the project.

"I want the government to use the case of Guadalcanal Plain Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL) as a concept model for the tuna lion factory," he said.

Chairman of the Lungga &Tenaru Land Trust board, George Vari, said the agreement signifies another milestone.

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