FIJI NEWS

EU helps farm grow

By LITIA MATHEWSELL European Union assistance has helped the Vivekananda Technical Centre in Nadi register as an independent higher education provider. The school has been approved by the Fiji Higher
07 Mar 2014 14:29

By LITIA MATHEWSELL

European Union assistance has helped the Vivekananda Technical Centre in Nadi register as an independent higher education provider.
The school has been approved by the Fiji Higher Education Commission.
The centre is overseen by the Ramakrishna Mission in Nawaicobo, outside Nadi and yesterday had its hydroponic agriculture training unit commissioned by Dirk Meganck, the European Commission’s director for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, the Gulf and the Pacific.
Although the centre is located at Nawaicobo, the agricultural training unit has been set up at Swami Vivekananda College, in Malolo, to allow its students more on-site exposure and knowledge of hydroponic farming.
Project coordinator, Swami Tadananda, said the agricultural training unit was established at a sum of $15,000 to provide awareness, exposure and hydroponic training for farmers to develop the required knowledge and skills to grow off-season vegetables. This is particularly for the large hospitality industry that imports large quantities of vegetables and fruits.
“The technical centre is in the process of developing a new qualification in production horticulture and hydroponic training will be part of this programme,” he said.
Mr Meganck said the programme targeted families living below the poverty line in the sugarcane belt and would continue even after EU support, as they are into the final year of a three- year contract signed with the Ramakrishna Mission for vocational training.
Twenty farmers were trained on their farms last year and each provided with a nursery, soil sterilisation technology and seeds, and a further 60-70 farmers are expected to join this programme this year.




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