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Irrigation and drainage
Evolution of irrigation development
In 2007, rice was the only crop using irrigated agriculture in the Solomon Islands, all other crops were rainfed. There were six irrigated rice projects with a total area of 35.4 ha (Table 4) (SOPAC, 2007):
- ROC Farm, King George VI School (3 ha)
- PEFA land King George VI School (15 ha, with only 4 ha was being used)
- Don Bosco Tetere (6.4 ha, planned to be extended to 20 ha)
- Tenaru School (3 ha, planned to be extended to 10 ha)
- Loa farm Malaita province (5 ha currently not in operation due to management conflict)
- Fiu rice farm Malaita province (3 ha).
The National Rural Rice Development Programme, started in 2006, aims to establish a total of 150 ha of irrigated rice fields throughout the country in five years. Plans are also underway to rehabilitate the 200 ha Metapona Rice Project in the Guadalcanal plain (SOPAC, 2007). It is not known whether these areas have been developed already and whether the schemes are functional. The agricultural developments of Guadalcanal plains have shown the potential for irrigation especially in the small holder rice farming activities.
Women and irrigation
Women are the main collectors of water for domestic uses in Solomon Islands. As a result, they are the ones who are mostly affected by water sector developments, especially in the rural areas. Where communities have been relocated due to logging or mining, water sources are often far away, increasing the burden of work for women. Provision of improved water and wastewater services in the rural areas benefits women as they are able to do other important activities without the constraints of water collection (ISF-UTS, 2011; SOPAC, 2007).