Strengthen rural agricultural advisory services for long-term benefit

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture David Kolitagane with participants of the Fiji Agricultural Advisory Services Forum. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE strengthening of rural agricultural advisory services in Fiji will contribute immensely to achieving the long-term vision of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Ministry permanent secretary David Kolitagane made this comment while opening a two-day workshop focused on strengthening agricultural advisory services in Fiji to improve extension services and agricultural practices that was held at Southern Cross Hotel in Suva this week.

Coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Pacific Community (SPC), the workshop titled ‘Supporting Smallholder Farmers in Asia- Pacific Region through Strengthened Agricultural Advisory Services (SAAS)”, brought together 20 representatives from Government, non-government organisations (NGOs), academic institutions and other key stakeholders.

Among the issues discussed was the identifying of capacity gaps and the development of training programs for human resource capacity building using the new Extensionist Framework, information and knowledge needs and policy issues related to extension services, as well as exchanges around good agricultural practices as building blocks for rural transformation that could foster ‘Modern Organized Agriculture’.

The goal of the SAAS is to empower poor smallholder farmers and producer organisations in the Asia-Pacific Region through access to improved, more effective, demand-driven agricultural advisory services.

The SAAS project is a joint partnership between IFAD, the Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Rural Advisory Services (PIRAS), and Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture College (SEARCA) and the Ministry of Agriculture.

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