Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade

The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) pilot project aims to support commercial ventures and producer groups in becoming export-oriented, market-driven enterprises that will consistently supply overseas markets with competitive agricultural and forestry products. The project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji and started in May 2008.

SPC - FACT supports training for farmers in Central Vitilevu (Fiji)
Friday, 20 August 2010 12:18

Driving the narrow road to Nakavika village in Namosi Province (Fiji Islands) is the experience of a lifetime. The road winds through beautiful but rough terrain as it climbs into the interior of Viti Levu.

The village lies about 75 kilometres from the main highway. For decades farmers have travelled this road to transport their produce to market in Navua Town.

But now taro and cassava exporters have begun to buy produce from these farmers in the village.

Adapting their farming from subsistence to a commercial system to meet the demand of exporters has resulted in numerous challenges for these farmers.

Although these were imposing challenges, timely assistance from the Department of Agriculture and the European Union funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community has lessened the burden on these farmers.

Eighty farmers attended two days of training on producing export quality taro for the overseas market. The first day of the training focussed on awareness about planting, maintenance and marketing, while the second day consisted of a field trip to taro processing companies.

According to Alifereti Roko of Mau village in Namosi, this training was very useful for the farmers.

‘We are very thankful to the FACT project of SPC’s Land Resources Division for funding this training, as now we understand what our exporters were demanding.’

‘The farming techniques and knowledge that have been shared through this training will enable all of us to improve our farming ventures,’ Mr Roko said.

Roko added that farmers have been told to treat farming as business, and that through this training they had understood what this meant.

Serua/Namosi Agriculture Extension Officer Virend Chand, who coordinated the training, acknowledged the assistance of SPC through the Land Resources Division’s FACT project.

‘The training for these farmers was only made possible with timely assistance from the FACT project, and we are very thankful for their assistance.

‘Farmer training is a very important tool to bring about changes, and this two-day training session has had a lot of positive impact on these farmers,’ Chand said

He also said that majority of the farmers were in the midst of shifting from subsistence level to commercial farming, and awareness on various aspect of farming was very timely.

The European Union-funded FACT project aims to find the weak links in the production of exportable commodities and provide specialised training to strengthen them.

This will ultimately increase the level of export of commodities from the region and help increase the consistency and quality of the supply.

FACT is a pilot project which started in May 2008 and is supporting 17 enterprises in Fiji Islands, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

The lessons learnt from working with these enterprises will be widely disseminated by SPC.

Similar training was also conducted at Masi village in Nuku Tikina of Serua Province last week. FACT Project’s Vinesh Prasad attended both training sessions and informed the farmers on the importance of growing quality produce and providing a consistent supply.

For further information please contact Vinesh Prasad on telephone (679)3370733 or email LRD Help Desk on email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 


The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of SPC.