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BAF Recognises Staff Training and Achievements

The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) recognised and celebrated staff training, learning and development and achievements. One of the BAF staff has recently returned to Fiji after completing Masters Degree
25 Feb 2017 11:42
BAF Recognises Staff Training and Achievements

The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) recognised and celebrated staff training, learning and development and achievements.

One of the BAF staff has recently returned to Fiji after completing Masters Degree while another staff has completed trainings on trade facilitation from overseas.

Acting Plant Pathologist Riten Chand Gosai has completed his Master of Science degree in Tropical Plant Pathology, specialising in Agrosecurity and Phytovirology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM).

Mr Gosai was recognised for his academic excellence by the Golden Key International Honor Society and received the Society’s robe and medal for graduation.

Mr Gosai’s studies involved training in all plant pathology related areas that included plant virology, mycology, bacteriology and nematology.

“These are the four major disciplines within the greater plant pathology field,” he said.According to Mr Gosai, his study has enabled him to enhance his knowledge in plant disease diagnosis and management and also designing molecular and serological plant disease/pathogen detection techniques.

“Molecular and serological plant disease detection techniques are scientific methods plant pathologists employ at the DNA/RNA or protein level to detect for pathogens (disease causing microorganisms) in plant samples,” he explained.

“I worked on the Taro vein chlorosis virus for my thesis. The virus was discovered in Hawaii in 2013 and is present in 8 other Pacific Island Countries including Fiji. I studied the genetic diversity of the Taro vein chlorosis virus and worked on improving a previous technique for its detection as well as developing new detection assays for the virus. I also managed to narrow down a vector for its spread.”

Mr Gosai has also been involved in restricted use pesticide training and interstate, potato viral disease(s) diagnostic programme conducted yearly by the Agrosecurity lab at UHM.

He has outlined a number of areas he would like to work on at BAF which include enhancing awareness on BAF’s mandated roles and functions, strengthening pre-border and border efforts and developing a strong diagnostic program for exotic and established plant diseases in Fiji.

“I want to see BAF at the stage where we are able to screen for plant diseases using the latest technology to enhance protection of our border/country as well as assist the operations team on ground,” Mr Gosai said.

Meanwhile, Team Leader Trade Facilitation and Compliance Mr Ronald Ritesh Prasad attended the seminar on Free Trade Zone held in Tianjin, Beijing and Shanghai in China and on World Trade Organisation (WTO) Third Country Training Programme sponsored by Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and organised by the Tianjin TEDA Group Company Limited

Mr Prasad said the training increased his knowledge on trade agreements, identify and understand basic determinants of trade and trade policies, analyse the economic implications for developing countries of different forms of trade regulations and understand and interpret the legal framework that regulates international trade.

“The training has broadened my knowledge on trade and how an advanced country like China has progressed significantly with declaring Free Trade Zone Area which has immensely benefitted the people of China. The knowledge received through the training will help in improving market access techniques by eliminating barriers to trade, improving the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and trade facilitation in line with the standards set by the WTO,” he said.

BAF chief executive officer, Xavier Khan said BAF recognised that training and development of its employees was crucial to not only enhancing capacity of BAF staff but would also strengthen border protection.

BAF currently has six staff members studying overseas (New Zealand and India) in various fields including nematology, plant pathology, biosecurity and veterinary.

There are many other staff members who are also attending various short courses and trainings locally

 

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