NATION

Agreement Will Help Increase Awareness On Biosecurity Issues

A Memorandum of Understanding between Fiji National University (FNU) and the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) was signed on May 8, 2018 during a ceremony in Suva. The agreement was
11 May 2018 10:00
Agreement Will Help Increase Awareness On Biosecurity Issues
Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) acting chief executive officer Hillary Kumwenda.

A Memorandum of Understanding between Fiji National University (FNU) and the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) was signed on May 8, 2018 during a ceremony in Suva.

The agreement was developed over two years, and its conclusion was effected by the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Prof Paul Iji, and the BAF acting chief executive officer of BAF, Hillary Kumwenda.

Mr Kumwenda welcomed the FNU team to BAF and appreciated the enhanced collaboration between the two institutions in order to increase awareness in biosecurity issues because it relates to animals, plants, native and invasive alien species.

He reported that Fiji, as an island country, had never reported most of the economically important animal and plant diseases and pests and that the country was endeavouring to maintain the free status, in order to consolidate itself an industrial and a trade hub for the Pacific region.

Mr Kumwenda identified some endemic and exotic pests and diseases of importance that have hampered some industries, citing the black/yellow Sigatoka fungal diseases of banana and the fruit flies on Rotuma Island.

He believed that both FNU and BAF would benefit from the collaboration since the MoU would open a pathway to address matters specific to the veterinary and other agricultural sectors.

Prof Paul Iji thanked everyone who worked over the years to secure the agreement and hoped that the MoU would enable the two organisations to effectively collaborate into the future.

He expressed optimism that the MoU would not be allowed to become inactive due to the mutual needs of both BAF and FNU.

Professor Iji said that FNU was in need of securing the support of the BAF staff in delivering some training to CAFF students while BAF scientists would also collaborate with academic staff at FNU.

He assured BAF that FNU would assist them to train potential recruits who were industry ready and also recommend BAF staff members for honorary and adjunct appointments with the university.

Other areas of cooperation will arise in future, including the possibility of assessing new species of crops and animals for introduction into the Fijian agricultural sector.

BAF chief veterinary officer Dr Sian Watson and BAF technical team and the Veterinary Science staff at CAFF, led by Dr Vingelle Bautista, were pleased that the agreement had been signed.

Dr Bautista thanked BAF for involving them in activities at the organisation even before the signing of the agreement.

Both FNU and BAF look forward to the implementation of possible programmes or interventions to enhance veterinary and plant protection education while strengthening the country’s biosecurity through appropriate interventions at the field level.

 

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