The importance of having fully operational research institutions in developing countries for primary industries such as agriculture was relayed to research personnel of the Ministry of Agriculture.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Mahendra Reddy yesterday when commissioning the newly upgraded Dobuilevu Research Station and staff quarters in Ra.
“Research stations, institutes or centers are very important institutions for the growth and development of any country, and no country can grow and develop without having a vibrant functioning research institution.
“Normally, in small countries, you have institutions where knowledge is created, the primary role of research stations is to interrogate the existing body of knowledge and determine whether it’s relevant for that particular period of time, country or that particular geographical location and to produce and generate a new body of knowledge, for example, for agriculture, new high yielding varieties of crops, and new disease-resistant breeds of livestock,” he said.
“Fiji’s agriculture research stations have done remarkably well in developing new varieties of crops and new breeds of livestock.
Minister Reddy emphasized the integral role of research institutions stating; “Research stations are at the heart of any economy, whether it is an agricultural station, research center on health, research institute on education, whatever the sector it may be, this is where new knowledge is created and where the frontier is expanded.
He said that this was an exciting era for the Fijian economy and the agriculture sector as the Ministry of Agriculture was relooking at how it could contribute more towards raising efficiency and productivity.
“The entire research work that we do will contribute towards raising the efficiency and productivity of the agriculture sector, in addition to raising production, the role of the research stations encompasses protecting our farmers output from any threats brought about from land degradation, pest, and disease or climate change, the agriculture research institute will look at the whole issue of protecting our agriculture sector,” said Minister Reddy.
He also elaborated that the dissemination of knowledge and information created from research stations would then be the responsibility of the crop extension officers who were tasked with relaying the information to farmers.
“So whatever we are doing at the ground level, we’re supported by what’s happening at the research stations, and if they’re failing to do that, then we will be failing our farmers, who are our ultimate clients.