FSM Presents Country Report at 4th Meeting of the Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services
Nadi, Fiji (FSM Information Services): September 17, 2010 - Gibson Susumu, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Division of Agriculture and Forestry (DOAF) of the FSM Department of Resources and Development, presented his FSM Country Report outlining the achievements and recommendations of the DOAF to the 4th Regional Meeting of Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HOAFS), in Nadi, Fiji, on September 14, 2010. The meeting was organized by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), based in Suva, Fiji.
In his report, Susumu spotlighted that the FSM and SPC had entered into a Joint Country Strategy Plan in 2008, for the period covering 2008-2012, pursuant to which the SPC committed to provide technical assistance and other support services to the DOAF. In the area of agriculture, the assistance aims at increasing production of traditional farming systems to ensure fresh local produce for the home, as well as for potential cash income with the production of saleable surpluses for local and regional markets.
In the area of forestry, the SPC assistance aims at mainstreaming environmental considerations, including climate change in national policy and planning; improving and enhancing the human environment, with waste management and pollution control; and reducing energy use and conversion to renewable energy sources while minimizing emission of greenhouse gases.
Actual projects which were accomplished and finalized this year in FSM with the assistance of SPC include FSM's Food Summit in March 29-31, 2010, which successfully resulted in a Food Security Policy and Action Plan for FSM. SPC participated in the Summit and contributed to the development of this Plan. The Plan is currently under legal review, prior to its submission for adoption by the FSM Congress.
Also, in early 2010, SPC provided over 200 tissue cultured plantlets for sweet potato, cassava, bananas and taros to FSM. These plantlets have been hardened and distributed to over 100 households throughout FSM.
In April 2010, FSM conducted a vulnerability and adaptation assessment for climate change, with the assistance of SPC-North Office. The SPC staff provided technical assistance on the design of the assessment, held household surveys, forestry surveys, and aided with the analysis of the surveys.
SPC has also assisted each State in FSM in drafting and completing their Agriculture Strategic Action Plan; as well as provided food technology workshops in each State.
While much work has been accomplished, Susumu outlined that many needs still must to be addressed, including filling key expert positions in FSM. These positions include: a plant pathologist, an entomologist, and an animal health officer. He also specified that building a quarantine treatment facility to facilitate the export of local produce to larger overseas markets should be a strategic priority.
On September 15, 2010, Susumu took part in a field trip organized for all participants of the 4th HOAFS, to plant trees in at the Namulomulo site, as part of Fiji's "One Million Trees Planting Campaign." Approximately 500 trees were planted that day at the site, with the hope that these will prevent future soil erosion along the dams built in Namulomulo to manage flash flooding. The tree planting expedition was followed by a visit to the Nadi quarantine facility, and also a visit with the Operation Kadivuka Taskforce on a mission to eradicate a termite outbreak infestation in the region of Lautoka.
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