10 Jun 2013

Solomons Agriculture Minister defends sending farmer funds through MPs

5:12 am on 10 June 2013

The Solomon Islands Minister of Agriculture says he is confident that ministry funds will reach the farmers it is intended for.

The Solomon Islands Government has allocated $4.6 million US dollars for the cocoa and coconut industry support programme but Transparency Solomon Islands says the government wants the funds to be issued to each constituency through the MPs.

The watchdog says only four MPs submitted accounts for the programme last year and the method gives rise to corruption, and leaves farmers vulnerable.

The Minister of Agriculture David Tome says the Transparency's argument has "no meat" and the system is secure.

"That's incorrect, the statement they say is incorrect. It is not budgeted through the MPs but through the constituency. And we have a mechanism in place to disburse to the farmers. I am convinced that the money will be received by the farmers. That will be administered by my ministry."

David Tome.