Both poverty and chronic poverty are difficult to measure in Solomon Islands. Apart from general data constraints, there is a distinct lack of data that can be utilised to assess the extent and severity of either poverty or chronic poverty both spatially or inter-temporally with any accuracy. Eighty-four percent of Solomon Islanders live in rural areas, with very limited access to education, health or other social services. In addition, they are serviced by poor or non-existent transport, electricity or telecommunications infrastructure, and rely on subsistence farming for their livelihoods. To address this reality pro-poor economic growth must originate from growth in the rural agricultural sector. To date, the poverty reduction strategies designed by the Solomon Island Government and other international financial institutions, such as the Asia Development Bank and International Monetary Fund, have failed to explicitly focus on this sector. Instead they emphasise private sector productivity, public sector capacity and improved infrastructure. Whilst important, such reforms are insufficient to fully address the circumstances of the poor within Solomon Islands. Alternative approaches to development that prioritise the poor and rural agricultural development are now required.

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