Farmer to Farmer Exchange to Strengthen Networks
FARMER TO FARMER EXCHANGE TO STRENGTHEN NETWORKS
26th October, 2017 (For Immediate Release)
(Suva,Fiji) Regional farmers and stakeholders visited and inspected various agriculture and agro tourism productions streams as part of their farmer to farmer exchange program in Port Villa last week. The farmer to farmer exchange program was organised by the Pacific Islands Farmers Network Organisation as a side event coinciding with the Pacific Week of Agriculture in Efate, Vanuatu.
Ms Lasa Aione a representative from the Samoan Famers Association stated that most pacific farmers still rely on traditional practices. “We have to learn to adapt to a wide range of challenges using a combination of our traditional methods and also new innovations from around the region. I have learnt a lot from the visitations to the different farms and have also managed to expand my networks regionally,” she added.
The participants had the opportunity to visit a farm focused on off-season pineapple production, a diversified agro-processing facility, a farmer organisation selling agricultural inputs, a coffee producer and processor, and a women led poultry farm in which participants learnt more on the business operations and management of agro farming facilities. Regional farmers through the site visits managed to expand their knowledge and strengthen their networks with their counterparts in Vanuatu.
Ted Addington founder of Tanna Coffee stressed that two years ago the plantation of 750,000 coffee trees was almost wiped out when tropical Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu. “We have managed to rebuild the business and there are plans to directly re-engage all the smallholder coffee farmers, many of whom lost everything during the cyclone”, he added. “I am very grateful to the Pacific Islands Farmers Organizations Network for organizing this visitation and allowing me to share my journey with other regional farmers including the pros and cons of bean production,” added Addington.
Meanwhile, the Pacific Islands Farmers Organisation also launched its Strategic Plan 2017-2020 at the end of its three day side event. The plan was launched by PIFON Deputy Chairman, Minoru Nishi in the presence of PIFON members, stakeholders and regional farmers.
PIFON Coordinator Kyle Stice was pleased with the turnout of participants and the response from members in regards to key presentations and group discussion which also led to a submission of a declaration from the pacific women in agriculture forum members.
The Pacific Islands Farmers Organisation (PIFON) and the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government organisations (PIANGO) in a joint project organised the three day event as part of the Pacific Agriculture week in Port Villa, Vanuatu last week.