Solomons Agriculture Ministry Surveying Local Food Security

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Honiara residents asked to assist with household food information

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 4, 2013) – Residents of Honiara are being asked to assist officers of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) who are carrying out a survey on food security and markets with relevant information.

Director of Agriculture Extension Services Michael Ho’ota made the call as the ministry stepped up its role in the fight to combat the rising prevalence of nutrition related illnesses or non-communicable diseases in the country.

With the launched of the survey this week, the Director has alerted every household, shops and market vendors in the capital that they are expecting officers from the Ministry to come around during the week to carry out the survey.

"Please support the survey by providing the relevant information," Mr Ho’ota said.

"Your assistance is important because data collected through the survey is targeted towards measuring indicators for vulnerability to food insecurity in Honiara."

The survey is in two parts, a component of the project; Agriculture and non-communicable diseases.

It is funded by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Solomon Islands Government and is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and MAL.

Mr Ho’ota said the first part of the survey focuses on household food security while the second part focuses on markets/shops.

"With food security, data collection focuses on all foods acquired by the households on a weekly, monthly basis, foods consumed from own production, food purchased and food received as gifts.

Data will also be collected on a variety of other proxy indicators of household food security such as education, food preferences, health and as well as food waste."

He continued on the market survey, data collection focused on amount of food imported into the country, amount of staples available in shops/markets and as well as price of common food items (imported and staples).

The market survey also collects other information on the markets such as characteristics of vendors, educational level and supply source/origin of both imported food items and staples.

Mr Ho’ota said the sample size for the food security survey will be 200 households.

It will be conducted with Government Civil Workers, 100 different household employees with all working classes and other residential areas including squatters to make up another 100 household.

Meanwhile the Director explained that the findings of the survey are crucial for the project partners in addressing the problems.

He said they are hoping to address the problems through education and training the target groups on the importance of proper balanced nutrition, how to do back yard/sup-sup gardening, promotion of organic farming methods and how to cook the same vegetables in various ways to name a few.

The survey continues this week and concludes Friday next week.

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