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New Niumara Wharf Officially Open
NIUMARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS – Communities from the Siota area opened the newly completed Niumara Wharf with the Government of Solomon Islands, and its development partners today. The new wharf will boost connectivity between Central Province and the rest of Solomon Islands.
The Niumara Wharf was built as part the Domestic Maritime Support Project which is financed by the Solomon Islands Government, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), AusAID, the New Zealand Aid Programme and the European Union. The project is constructing and rehabilitating rural wharves and jetties to improve safety and accessibility for economic and social activities.
Before the wharf’s construction, many vessels did not call on Niumara. Locals struggled to load their copra and other agricultural products onto bigger boats. Safety used to be a major concern when villagers tried to board large vessels using ladders from the beach at Niumara.
“It used to be very unsafe for us to carry babies on to visiting boats,” said Muriel Tumu, a teacher from the local Siota School.
“The new wharf will allow us to get our copra, taro, melons and other crops from the garden to market more easily and now we have a new wharf we will no longer have to take dinghies out to larger boats to load our cargo,” said the Belaga Community’s Laisa Mapena.
People from six villages in the Niumara area will be able to use the new wharf which will give pupils and staff from Boromole better access to the secondary school at Siota. Other community members said they felt better connected to Honiara and the health, education, and other services there because they now have their own wharf.
The Domestic Maritime Support Project has also established a franchise shipping scheme to support remote communities. The improved shipping services and new wharves and jetties are reducing barriers to market access and are promoting the growth of rural production. The franchise shipping scheme under the project is allowing private sector operators to deliver shipping services to commercially-unviable destinations.