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Fiji Sun



June 10
10:00 2018

Ministry of Agriculture, Permanent Secretary, David Kolitagane last week received field training equipment and training materials to enhance the ministry.

This is through the extension officers to further support farmers in the sugar cane belt to increase and improve the production of horticultural crops to supplement their sugarcane income.

The Head of Cooperation at the European Union, Christoph Wagner and Director Communications at the Pacific Community (SPC) officially handed over 22 computers, 10 printers, 15 nutrient soil tests, 26 measuring wheels, 26 waterproof dry bags, four projectors and 19 cabinets.

Mr Kolitagane in receiving the equipment acknowledged the tremendous work that had been undertaken around Fiji by the Pacific Community, the Improving Key Services to Agriculture (IKSA) project and the European Union (EU) being the main donor agency.

“We recognise and appreciate your support to the Government of Fiji to improve the livelihood of farmers in the sugarcane belt areas and we will make sure that it is put to good use,” said Mr Kolitagane.

He added that it was vital considering Government’s intent to ensure field officers were better equipped to carry out their work in order for farmers to be more receptive to new ideas of improved agricultural practices.

The Head of Cooperation at the European Union, Christoph Wagner said the IKSA project aimed to enhance the services that support farmers to grow fruits and vegetables within the sugarcane belt areas. Thereby providing a platform to support sugarcane farmers to adapt horticultural crops to complement their sugarcane income.

Mr Wagner said: “The IKSA project has been developing the capacity of farmers to grow fruits and vegetables through the provision of farm infrastructures, such as nurseries and irrigation.

“Also developing the capabilities of the Extension and Research Division of the Ministry of Agriculture to provide support and training to horticultural farmers in the Western Division and Macuata Province.”

Mr Wagner said that they also launched 10 short training videos.

Three of the videos focused on the production of open-pollinated seeds and seven on the full spectrum of pineapple production from planting to harvesting, including erosion control and off-season production.

“We are looking forward to the IKSA project launching more training videos on nursery management, soil health, pesticides, residue safety and irrigation,” said Mr Wagner.

The total cost of the donated Field Training Equipment and Training Materials handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture from the European Union was worth $136,000.

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