32 Horses Reach Gau Island To Assist Farmers

Farmers on the island were also informed about the proper handling of horses as it would be a shared responsibility amongst farmers.
15 Feb 2019 17:11
32 Horses Reach Gau Island To Assist Farmers
These horses will assist farmers on Gau Island with the transportation of their farming produce.

The burden of transporting produce from farms on Gau Island has been made easier for farmers on the island.

This follows the recent ferrying of 32 horses across to Gau by the Ministry of Agriculture to assist farmers to transport their produce from their farms after harvesting.

The initiative, funded under the Agriculture Extension Services Program of the Ministry with the total funding of $32,000 is part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Rural Millionaire Concept for Gau Island.

Principal Agriculture Officer (Eastern) Epeli Dugucagi said the assistance would contribute significantly to the development of Gau farmers.

“This assistance will help with the way forward for Gau farmers and part of the Ministry’s role is the development of farmers in rural and outer islands thus the provision of this assistance.

“Some major commodities such as yaqona are produced by farmers from Gau and there are often problems they encounter as farmers in maritime islands, one of which is the transportation of farming produce,” he said.

“The 32 horses for Gau include 16 stallions and 16 mares and were distributed in pairs, 1 male and 1 female to the 16 villagers on Gau to help ease the issue of transporting farmers’ harvests,” he added.

Mr. Dugucagi said the provision of these horses was to raise farmers’ income generation and improve their livelihoods; “The Ministry is working towards improving their production and farming systems and the transferring of horses is one of the avenues to address this.”

“Since constructing farm access roads on the island was not a viable option at the moment due to the topography of the island, the horses will assist to ease the burden of carrying heavy loads from the farms to their respective villages,” he said.

Farmers on the island were also informed about the proper handling of horses as it would be a shared responsibility amongst farmers.

“We also shared some very important tips on the welfare of the horses and our expectations on their safekeeping and usage because these horses are expected to multiply in number,” he said.

Further training on proper horse handling will be facilitated for Gau farmers by the Ministry of Agriculture, from which an initial assessment on the animals’ performance will be determined.

The farming assistance was received with much appreciation from farmers and villagers of Gau Island with a traditional ceremony of ‘cere’ being performed to welcome the 32 horses at Somosomo Village.

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