Rural communities at heart of agriculture research
Rural communities in the driver’s seat of agricultural research and extension
Friday, 9 November 2007, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), CRGA 37, Apia, Samoa – Putting rural communities in the driver’s seat of agricultural research and extension is clearly what the EU-funded Development of Sustainable Agriculture in the Pacific (DSAP) managed to achieve in the recent years of implementation of the initiative.
Yesterday, pleading for donors to consider providing assistance towards the conduct of an agriculture census, Francisco Marquez, farmer and Secretary of the Pohnpei Farmers Association from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), talked about the positive difference that DSAP had made to himself as a farmer and to the local farming community in FSM.
‘With the assistance of DSAP and other local partners and agencies, I have been able to extend my farming area, build a nursery, use new composting methods, increase seedling numbers, produce my own seeds among other things. The livelihood of my family has improved sensibly. I am currently looking at the possibility to export produce to Guam and the Marshall Islands.’
Ricky F. Cantero, FSM’s delegate to CRGA 37 and Deputy assistant Secretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs, also added that ‘Technical assistance to FSM with its agricultural census will enable the farmers to achieve maximum return on their investments.’
‘Some of the technologies that are being tested on farms, based on country priorities, are the evaluation of the legume Macuna as a cover crop, use of the bucket irrigation system, and promotion of vegetable production in villages and schools,’ said Dr Siosaua Halavatau, SPC Team leader for DSAP in his presentation.
‘Other technologies are the introduction of new varieties and germplasm, improved smallholder livestock production, simple composting methods for hilly areas , use of plant-derived pesticides, improved taro production, and the introduction of wild varieties of tradition crops.
The DSAP project has created opportunities for the participation of women and youth in technology development and income generation,’ he concluded.
The SPC Land Resources division received SPC Gender Award 2007 for the gender-inclusive approach of its DSAP programme.